The start of the Minnesota 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 2023 Legislature brought us the most diverse group of legislators in state history, with 27 lawmakers of color and 11 LGBTQ+ representatives filling the ranks.
This inspiring class of lawmakers is headed back to the Capitol this February. We’re confident that 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, the amazing progressive accomplishments from the last session, 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. This results in 134 house districts. Each senate district elects one senator, and each house district elects one representative.
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.
Although it is not required to do so, the Legislature also meets in even-numbered years. These sessions start on a date agreed to by both bodies, usually in January or February. Since this year is even numbered, the session starts on February 12th!
Each two-year term of the House is considered one legislative session, also known as one “biennium.”
Sometimes, the governor calls a “special session.” This happens when crucial legislative work has been left unfinished at the end of the regular session or if an emergency requires legislative action.
What did the legislature accomplish last year?
Thanks to the historic trifecta that progressives held in the legislature last year, our lawmakers were able to pass important legislation to benefit all Minnesotans. Here are some of the highlights.
One of the very first bills Governor Tim Walz signed into law last year was The Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act).
The PRO Act protects the right to contraception, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, the right to fertility treatment, and the right to an abortion. The bill also protects reproductive rights at all state government levels. This means that a city or county cannot limit reproductive rights or abortion access.
Governor Walz also signed the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act. This act protects patients coming to Minnesota from a state that banned abortions. It also protects doctors who practice in Minnesota or outside Minnesota.
Progressives also passed Universal School Meals, providing free breakfast and lunch to all K-12 students, regardless of their parents’ income.
And now Minnesota residents can obtain a driver’s license no matter their immigration status. The Driver’s License for All bill allows families across Minnesota to enroll their children in school, visit doctors, travel to employment, and so much more.
Adult-use cannabis officially became legal on August 1st, 2023, thanks to progressives in the Minnesota House and Senate. The new law establishes cannabis for recreational use. It also takes crucial measures to begin to repair the legacy of racial injustice created by decades of criminalized marijuana use.
We can’t wait to see what progressives accomplish this year
Last year’s session was a transformative year for Minnesotans, and it looks like our legislators are gearing up for another session full of progressive wins.
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