The 86Th Legislature Is Now In Session - 01/09/2009
This week I had the distinct honor and privilege to take the oath of office to be your State Representative. I thank you once again for giving me this honor, and I pledge to continue the hard work that is needed during these times.
One of the first things done during session is being assigned to various committees. While most people know there are many different committees, the process of how they are run is often referred to as "inside baseball" because itís not a glamorous part of the process. So let me explain a little bit about the committee process.
Each biennium the leaders in the House and the Senate set the number and scope of the standing committees and establish committee chairs according to which party is in the majority. Whichever party holds the most seats in either the House or the Senate is considered the Majority Caucus.
In the House, the Speaker chooses the committee chairs and appoints members of each committee. Each member is allowed to state his or her preference. In deciding on a committee chair, the speaker usually chooses a senior member with some expertise in the committee's work, but not always. There is no time limit for House members to serve as chair of a committee. Ideally, committee memberships reflect the balance of DFL and Republican members in the House. Each committee, therefore, would be a representative sample of the whole body.
In the House, there are 35 standing committees and divisions.
Committees range in size from 10 to 25 members. Each member serves on three to five committees so they are able to focus on a few areas of policy development.
For this biennium the Speaker has appointed me to the following
committees: Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division, K-12 Education Finance Division, and the Veterans Affairs Division. These are the same committees and divisions I served on last biennium and I am pleased to be appointed to them again. As a teacher and a military reservist I know these issues well and look forward to bringing my real world experience in these areas to St. Paul.
Along with those committees I am also serving on two new committees which are Property and Local Sales Tax Division, Rules and Legislative Administration. In addition I was elected to be an Assistant Minority Whip and to serve on the personnel committee for the Minority caucus.
The majority of my time for the first few months of this session will be spent in these committees. But I will also be tracking many of the larger issues that the Legislature will be discussing this year.
Throughout this upcoming session I encourage you to contact me at any time with your questions, concerns, or comments. You can contact me in one of three ways: via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via phone at
(651) 296-4124, or via mail at 251 State Office Building, 100 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.