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Mini-Sessions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

From 1985 to 1997, the Minnesota House of Representatives held extensive hearings and forums away from the State Capitol. Occurring mainly in odd-numbered years, these "mini-sessions" were held to expand legislators' horizons and to give citizens living outside of St. Paul more access to legislative proceedings. Mini-sessions were often centered in a specific city with hearings held in cities and towns in the surrounding region.

While those mini-sessions are well-documented and remembered, they were not the first legislative mini-sessions in Minnesota. The earliest mention found (so far) refers to an October 1968 Senate mini-session. In addition, news articles reference mini-sessions held in various years between 1970 and 1979.

Legislative mini-sessions held during the 1973 interim have a unique history. The first biennial session of the Minnesota Legislature occurred during 1973/1974, following approval of a 1972 constitutional amendment that allowed flexible, biennial sessions. For the first time in state history, bills were carried over through an interim period between sessions - and could be acted upon. The Legislature quickly seized the opportunity, holding a series of mini-sessions between July and December 1973.

Between 1998 and 2018, there were no formal mini-sessions but hearings were occasionally held around the state. Rather than mini-sessions on a variety of topics, committee hearings were selected based on topics of interest to citizens in the chosen city and region. The mini-session tradition is being revived in 2019 with meetings in Winona on October 2-4, the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Winona/Rochester mini-session.

October 2-4, 2019 - Winona

Documents and Reports

October 15-17, 1997 - Willmar

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
10/15/1997 House Capital Investment Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Tourism Subcommittee Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Economic Development and International Trade - Economic Development Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division: Government Efficiency and Oversight Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Education - Family and Early Childhood Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Education - Higher Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Judiciary - Civil and Family Law Division Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
10/15/1997 House Transportation and Transit - Transportation and Transit Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Capital Investment Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Tourism Subcommittee Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Economic Development and International Trade - Economic Development Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division: Government Efficiency and Oversight Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Education - Family and Early Childhood Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Education - Higher Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Judiciary - Civil and Family Law Division Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
10/16/1997 House Transportation and Transit - Transportation and Transit Finance Division Listen Audio Link

October 24-26, 1995 - Southern Minnesota (Austin/Albert Lea)

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
10/24/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Consumer Affairs Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Health and Human Services - Health and Human Services Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
10/24/95 House Transportation and Transit Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Agriculture Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Business Regulation Division Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Economic Equality Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Education - Higher Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Elections - Elections Division Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Health and Human Services - Health and Human Services Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House International Trade and Economic Development Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs & Taxes - Property Tax and Tax Increment Financing Division Listen Audio Link
10/25/95 House Ways and Means - Task Force to Monitor Federal Budget Action Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Tourism Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Economic Development, Infrastructure and Regulation Finance Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Governmental Operations - State Government Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Health and Human Services - MinnesotaCare Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Housing Listen Audio Link
10/26/95 House Taxes - Sales and Income Tax Division Listen Audio Link

September 19-21, 1995 - Headwaters (Bemidji/Park Rapids)

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
9/19/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Business Regulation Division Listen Audio Link
9/19/95 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
9/19/95 House Taxes - Property Tax and Tax Increment Financing Division Listen Audio Link
9/20/95 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/20/95 House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Listen Audio Link
9/20/95 House Housing Listen Audio Link
9/20/95 House Regulated Industries and Energy Listen Audio Link
9/20/95 House Taxes - School Funding and Property Tax Reform Task Force Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Commerce, Tourism and Consumer Affairs - Tourism Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Economic Development, Infrastructure and Regulation Finance Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Education - Higher Education Finance Division & University of Minnesota Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Governmental Operations - State Government Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House International Trade and Economic Development Listen Audio Link
9/21/95 House Taxes - Sales and Income Tax Division Listen Audio Link

October 27-29, 1993 - Minnesota Plains (Fergus Falls/St. Cloud)

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
10/27/93 House Agriculture Listen Audio Link
10/27/93 House Ethics Listen Audio Link
10/27/93 House Financial Institutions and Insurance - Insurance Listen Audio Link
10/27/93 House Housing Listen Audio Link
10/28/93 House Agriculture Listen Audio Link
10/28/93 House Education - Higher Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/28/93 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
10/28/93 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
10/29/93 House Commerce and Economic Development Listen Audio Link
10/29/93 House Economic Development, Infrastructure and Regulation Finance Listen Audio Link
10/29/93 House Environment and Natural Resources & Environment and Natural Resources Finance Listen Audio Link
10/29/93 House Housing Listen Audio Link
10/29/93 House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Listen Audio Link

September 20-22, 1993 - Minnesota Valley (New Ulm/St. Peter)

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
9/20/93 House Agriculture, Commerce and Economic Development, & Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Commerce and Economic Development - Economic Equality Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Economic Development, Infrastructure and Regulation Finance Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Health and Human Services Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Listen Audio Link
9/21/93 House Transportation and Transit - Transit Listen Audio Link
9/22/93 House Agriculture - Agriculture Finance and Rural Development Listen Audio Link
9/22/93 House Capital Investment Listen Audio Link
9/22/93 House Education - K-12 Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/22/93 House Governmental Operations and Gambling - State Government Finance Division Listen Audio Link

October 28-30, 1991 - Suburban Twin Cities

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
10/28/91 House Appropriations - Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Regulation Division Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Appropriations - Education Division Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Education - Curriculum Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs, and Gaming Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Governmental Operations - Government Structures Division: Licensing Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Housing Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
10/28/91 House Senior Issues Forum Listen Audio Link
10/29/91 House Economic Development Listen Audio Link
10/29/91 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
10/29/91 House Finance - State Departments Division Listen Audio Link
10/29/91 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
10/29/91 House Transportation Listen Audio Link
10/30/91 House Education - Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
10/30/91 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
10/30/91 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
10/30/91 House Redistricting Listen Audio Link
10/30/91 House Transportation Listen Audio Link

September 4-6, 1991 - Brainerd Lakes/Cuyuna Country

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Audio
9/4/91 House Agriculture Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Education - Curriculum Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Education - Education Finance Division Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Education - Higher Education Division Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Financial Institutions and Insurance Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Governmental Operations - Pensions Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Health and Human Services Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Judiciary Listen Audio Link
9/4/91 House Regulated Industries Listen Audio Link
9/5/91 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs, and Gaming Listen Audio Link
9/5/91 House Judiciary - Family Law Listen Audio Link
9/5/91 House Labor-Management Relations Listen Audio Link
9/6/91 House Environment and Natural Resources Listen Audio Link
9/6/91 House Housing Listen Audio Link
9/6/91 House Judiciary - Data Privacy Listen Audio Link

November 14-17, 1989 - Moorhead

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
11/14/1989 House Education - Education Finance Division (Roseau) PDF Link
11/14/1989 House Judiciary - Criminal Justice Division (St. Paul) PDF Link
11/14/1989 House Transportation (Detroit Lakes) PDF Link
11/15/1989 House Education - Education Finance Division (Lancaster) PDF Link
11/15/1989 House Education - Education Finance Division & Appropriations - Telecommunications and Computers (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/15/1989 House Environment and Natural Resources (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/15/1989 House Judiciary - Marriage and Dissolution (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Economic Development - Community Stabilization and Development Division (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Education (Barnesville) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs, and Gaming (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Financial Institutions and Housing (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Insurance (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/16/1989 House Labor-Management Relations (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/17/1989 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs, and Gaming (Moorhead) PDF Link
11/17/1989 House Health and Human Services (Moorhead) PDF Link

October 17-20, 1989 - Worthington

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
10/18/1989 House Economic Development - Community Stabilization and Development Division (Slayton) PDF Link
10/18/1989 House Education (Jackson) PDF Link
10/18/1989 House General Legislation - Veterans Affairs & Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division(Luverne) PDF Link
10/18/1989 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division & General Legislation - Veterans Affairs (Luverne) PDF Link
10/18/1989 House Judiciary - Criminal Justice Division (Worthington) PDF Link
10/18/1989 House Labor-Management Relations (Worthington) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (Windom) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House General Legislation, Veterans, and Gaming - Elections Division (Worthington) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House Environment and Natural Resources (Worthington) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House Governmental Operations (Worthington) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House Insurance (Luverne) PDF Link
10/19/1989 House Transportation (Windom) PDF Link
10/20/1989 House Health and Human Services (Pipestone) PDF Link
10/20/1989 House Transportation (Luverne) PDF Link

September 13-16, 1989 - Winona/Rochester

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
9/13/1989 House Education (Winona) PDF Link
9/13/1989 House Education - Education Finance Division (Winona) PDF Link
9/13/1989 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Gaming - Elections Division (Winona) PDF Link
9/13/1989 House Judiciary - Privacy (Winona) PDF Link
9/13/1989 House Labor-Management Relations (Winona) PDF Link
9/13/1989 House Transportation (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Economic Development - Community Stabilization and Development Division (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Environment and Natural Resources (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Financial Institutions and Housing (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House General Legislation, Veterans Affairs, and Gaming (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Governmental Operations (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Health and Human Services (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Judiciary - Criminal Justice Division (Winona) PDF Link
9/14/1989 House Taxes (Winona) PDF Link
9/15/1989 House Governmental Operations (Rochester) PDF Link
9/15/1989 House Health and Human Services & Judiciary (Rochester) PDF Link
9/15/1989 House Health and Human Services & Judiciary (Rochester) PDF Link
9/15/1989 House Insurance (Rochester) PDF Link
9/16/1989 House Taxes - Property Tax (Rochester) PDF Link

January 13-15, 1988 - Eveleth

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
1/13/1988 House Economic Development and Housing Committee & House Appropriations Committee - State Departments Division (Biwabik) PDF Link
1/13/1998 House Education Committee (Chisholm) PDF Link
1/13/1988 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division & Health and Human Services (Eveleth) PDF Link
1/13/1988 House Higher Education (Virginia) PDF Link
1/13/1988 House Judiciary (Hibbing) PDF Link
1/13/1988 House Labor-Management Relations (Aurora) PDF Link
1/13/1988 House Taxes (Eveleth) PDF Link
1/15/1988 House Environment and Natural Resources (Babbitt) PDF Link
1/15/1988 House Government Operations (Buhl) PDF Link

November 16-18, 1987 - Alexandria

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
11/16/1987 House Agriculture (Albany) PDF Link
11/16/1987 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (Fergus Falls) PDF Link
11/16/1987 House Commerce (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/16/1987 House Economic Development and Housing (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/16/1987 House Education (St. Cloud) PDF Link
11/16/1987 House Taxes (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Agriculture (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Government Operations (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Health and Human Services (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Health and Human Services (Hoffman) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Labor-Management Relations (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/17/1987 House Transportation (Barrett) PDF Link
11/18/1987 House Economic Development and Housing - Housing and Community Development Subcommittee & Commerce - House Consumer Affairs Subcommittee (Alexandria) PDF Link
11/18/1987 House Environment and Natural Resources (Alexandria) PDF Link

October 14-16, 1987 - St. Paul

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
10/14/1987 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/14/1987 House Commerce (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/14/1987 House Economic Development and Housing & Future and Technology (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/14/1987 House Health and Human Services (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/14/1987 House Higher Education (Anoka) PDF Link
10/14/1987 House Taxes (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Agriculture (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Environment and Natural Resources (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Government Operations (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Labor-Management Relations (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Transportation (Cambridge) PDF Link
10/15/1987 House Regulated Industries (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/16/1987 House Select Committee on Housing (St. Paul) PDF Link
10/16/1987 House Transportation (St. Paul) PDF Link

September 8-11, 1987 - Mankato

Documents and Reports

Committee Hearings

Date Body Committee Minutes
9/9/1987 House Economic Development and Housing (Mankato) PDF Link
9/9/1987 House Government Operations (Mankato) PDF Link
9/9/1987 House Regulated Industries (Mankato) PDF Link
9/9/1987 House Taxes (Mankato) PDF Link
9/10/1987 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (Mankato) PDF Link
9/10/1987 House Commerce (Mankato) PDF Link
9/10/1987 House Environment (Mankato) PDF Link
9/10/1987 House Labor-Management Relations (Mankato) PDF Link
9/10/1987 House Transportation (Mapleton) PDF Link
9/11/1987 House Agriculture (Waseca) PDF Link
9/11/1987 House Appropriations - Health and Human Services Division (New Ulm) PDF Link
9/11/1987 House Appropriations - Higher Education and Education Division (Austin) PDF Link
9/11/1987 House Appropriations - Higher Education and Education Division (Mankato) PDF Link
9/11/1987 House Select Committee on Housing (Mankato) PDF Link

September 17-20, 1985 - St. Paul

Documents and Reports

September - December 1979 - Various locations

Four mini-sessions were held in 1979 during the interim. Meetings were scheduled to be held: September 19-20, October 17-18, November 14-15, December 12-13.

Documents and Reports

  • "Interim House Budgets Okayed." Hibbing Daily Tribune, June 7, 1979.

August 1975 - January 1976 - Various locations

Six mini-sessions were held in 1975 and January of 1976 during the interim.

Documents and Reports

  • "House Office Disputes Cost Estimates for Mini-Sessions." Pioneer Press, November 20, 1975.
  • "House to Hold 'Mini-Sessions’ During Interim." Minneapolis Star, July 1, 1975.

July - December 1973 - Various locations

Six mini-sessions were held in 1973 during the interim. Meetings were held during the weeks of July 16, August 20, September 17, October 8, November 12, and December 10.

Documents and Reports

  • "First of Six Mini-Sessions Slated." Winona Daily News, July 16, 1973.
  • "Legislators are Returning to Capitol this Week as First Mini-Session Begins." Minneapolis Tribune, July 16, 1973.
  • Berg, Tom. "Breakout Session: Changing Time Spent Governing," in Minnesota's Miracle, p. 107-109, 2012.

January 26-30, 1970 - Capitol

The mini-session was a meeting of the Senate.

Documents and Reports

  • "'Mini-Session' and Legislative Reform." Star Tribune, January 29, 1970.
  • "Senate to Have 'Mini-Session.'" The Minneapolis Star, December 18, 1969.

July - December 1968 - Unknown location

This article mentions that the January 1970 mini-session is patterned after a Senate mini-session in October of 1968.

Documents and Reports

  • "Senate to Have 'Mini-Session.'" The Minneapolis Star, December 18, 1969.