2021 Minnesota Legislate Session
Tuesday marked the start of the 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session. Floor sessions began with the swearing in of members, followed by the election of Leadership in both bodies. Tuesday’s activities also highlighted the differences in how the House and Senate will manage operations during the global pandemic. In the House, members were sworn-in in pods of 9. The Senate allowed all members to be present for the swearing-in, however members had an option to be sworn in remotely.
The House has determined the 2021 Legislative Session will be conducted remotely. The Speaker plans to release more information on how committees will function. Speaker Hortman expects most members to be in St. Paul on Mondays and Thursdays when floor sessions are scheduled. Staff will be in the office one day each week, and most likely not the same day members are present. Members will continue to cast floor votes remotely using a new biometric system which will allow members to scan a finger print and then cast their vote. This will eliminate the lengthy House rollcalls used since the House went remote last March.
The Senate plans to operate in a hybrid model with floor action and committee meetings taking place both remotely and in-person. It is not clear how the public will access these hearings, and the Senate is continuing to develop policies and procedures. Most non-partisan staff in both bodies will continue to work remotely throughout the session. The process for having bills drafted and introduced in both bodies are still unclear. Leadership in both the House and Senate are urging their members to focus on the budget this session, which is the primary focus for 2021. With a pending deficit in the next biennium, finding a compromise between the GOP controlled Senate and DFL House and Governor will be a challenging task.
Late last week, both the House and Senate released their committee rosters. The following link will take you to the House and Senate Committee pages.