And They're Off. 199 right hands went up today and took the legislative oath. We are two short of the entire contingent of 201 legislators due to the retirements of Representatives Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud) and Terry Morrow (DFL-St. Peter) yesterday. The vacancies resulting from those retirements will be filled by special elections within the next month.
Here is a news story on those two retirements:
MPR Link: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/polinaut/archive/2013/01/morrow_gottwalt.shtml
The first day of the session was pretty much reserved for procedural and organizing motions. I say "pretty much" because there was some criticism of the new committee structure in the House of Representatives by Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown). The primary concern raised is that the budget for the Department of Agriculture will fall under the auspices of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance chaired by Representative Jean Wagenius (DFL-Minneapolis). Some Republicans believe that the finance portion of the Agriculture issue should be merged with the Agriculture Policy Committee chaired by Representative Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin). Of course, the complaints produced no change and time marches on.
Education Committee Links.
I neglected to mention in yesterday's entry that the re-designed legislative web page is a veritable goldmine of helpful information relating to the Legislature. Each committee has its own web page that lists members, staff, schedules of upcoming meetings, and minutes of previous meetings. There is also the ability to subscribe to e-mail notices issued by the committee.
Here are the web pages for the five education-related committees:
Senate E-12 Finance Division: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/committees/committee_bio.php?cmte_id=3062&ls=
Senate Education Policy Committee: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/committees/committee_bio.php?cmte_id=1005&ls=
House Education Finance Committee: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committee.asp?comm=88006
House Education Policy Committee: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committee.asp?comm=88007
House Early Childhood and Youth Development Policy Committee: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committee.asp?comm=88005