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Minnesota Legislature

Process reform subcommittee approves rules change recommendations

The House Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform met for the final time in 2019 on Wednesday to vote on proposed rule changes intended to help future legislative sessions function more smoothly, end on time and with balanced budgets.

Members approved six proposals that will be sent to the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee for consideration. Three would amend the House Rules and three would change the Joint Rules, under which both the House and Senate operate. 

The proposed rule changes that were approved are:

  • a House Rules change requiring conference committee reports to be delivered to members 12 hours before action could be taken on them, through the end of the session. The proposal also includes a provision allowing the rule to be waived by a majority vote of the House. Another provision in the proposal would require the House chair of a conference committee to call a public hearing when he or she holds the gavel, except on Sundays and holidays;
  • a similar “12-hour” provision to the Joint Rules that would eliminate waiving the 12-hour waiting period during the last 5 days of session;
  • a proposed change to the Joint Rules requiring both House and Senate conference committee chairs to call a meeting when they hold the gavel, except on weekends, although that exception could be removed;
  • a proposed House Rules change to shorten the length of time after the release of Minnesota Management and Budget’s February Forecast from 25 to 14 days, by when the House Ways and Means Committee must adopt a budget resolution setting the House budget targets;
  • a proposal to create a new House Rule meant to remove policy language from finance bills. It would prohibit major finance or revenue bills from including policy language that isn’t “directly related” to fiscal decisions made in the bill; and
  • a similar proposal to change the Joint Rules regarding removal of policy language from budget bills.

 


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