The start of the Minnesota 2023-2024 legislative session is upon us!
Minnesota’s progressive champions swept the ballot during the 2022 midterm elections securing
historic control of all three branches of the Minnesota government.
And that’s not at all. The incoming Minnesota legislature is now the most diverse in state history, with 27 lawmakers of color and 11 LGBTQ+ representatives filling the ranks.
With such an inspiring class of leaders headed to the Capitol this January, we’re confident our progressive leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate will fight for policies that stand up for our schools, families, and communities and fight for a better Minnesota.
Before the session is gaveled in, we’re here to answer all your questions about how the Legislature functions, this darn budget surplus everyone keeps talking about, and the importance of staying involved in local government. So here is everything you need to know about the Minnesota Legislature and what to expect in this session.
What is the Minnesota Legislature?
Like the United States Congress, the Minnesota Legislature consists of two bodies: a Senate and a House of Representatives. While the United States Congress makes the laws at the national level, the Minnesota Legislature is the lawmaking body at the state level.
Our legislators are tasked with balancing the state budget and creating policies that affect our communities and lives. Their work encompasses the state education system, state tax policy, funding for state health and human service programs, public safety, and so much more!
Who represents me in the Minnesota Legislature?
Minnesota is divided into 67 senate districts, each of which is divided into two, creating 134 house districts. Each senate district elects one senator, and each house district elects one representative.
The incoming Minnesota legislature is now the most diverse in state history! For the first time in 164 years of statehood, Black women will finally serve in the Minnesota State Senate.
This session’s class also includes Minnesota’s first transgender, non-binary, and Japanese-Amercian, lawmakers.
Not sure who your legislators are? No worries. Use this link to learn all about your elected officials.
What is the Legislative Session?
The Minnesota Legislature convenes in a regular session each odd-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January. This year, the session starts on January 3rd!
Although it is not required to do so, the Legislature also meets in even-numbered years, starting on a date agreed to by both bodies, usually in January or February.
Each two-year term of the House is considered one legislative session, also known as one “biennium.”
Sometimes, the governor calls a “special session” when crucial legislative work has been left unfinished at the end of the regular session or if an emergency requires legislative action.
What about this whole budget surplus situation?
If you read the news, you’ll know that Minnesota is experiencing a historic $17.6 billion projected budget surplus this year.
The Minnesota Legislature is tasked with planning and balancing the state budget for the next two years, and the projected surplus leaves a lot more flexibility for our legislative leaders.
With additional funds on the table, our legislative leaders are given a rare opportunity to make additional investments in Minnesota’s social services, schools, health care, and so much more.
When asked about his desires for the projected surplus, Governor Tim Walz said he was hopeful that this additional funding can be used to help build a better Minnesota for all our different communities.
With progressive control of all three branches of Minnesota’s government, the sky’s the limit for passing meaningful, ambitious policy that invests in our communities and dreams big.
We can’t wait to follow along.
With a historic class of legislators, a historic budget surplus, and a historic progressive trifecta, this legislative session, to say the least, is going to be an exciting one.
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