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Legislative road trip: House headed to SE Minnesota

The Minnesota House of Representatives' first mini-session since 1997 will take place in southeast Minnesota Oct. 2-4.
The Minnesota House of Representatives' first mini-session since 1997 will take place in southeast Minnesota Oct. 2-4.

It’s been more than 30 years since the House of Representatives got together as a body in Winona.

The town along the Mississippi River is scheduled to host more than 100 members for a three-day mini-session beginning Wednesday.

“In addition to welcoming citizen participation in the State Capitol in St. Paul, the Legislature should go out into communities across the state,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said in a statement. “This year we held more than 10 House committee field hearings that took place during the 2019 regular session. The mini-session is a continuation of our effort to make the Legislature more accessible and responsive to Minnesotans.”

Members will not be together in one place, save for a pair of evening receptions. Rather, many committees and divisions plan to discuss issues at locations across southeast Minnesota, including Austin, Caledonia, Preston, Rochester, Rushford Township and Winona.

Topics to be discussed include: agriculture, broadband, capital investment, census preparation, child care, clean energy, criminal justice reform, education, prescription drug prices, property taxes, transportation needs and workforce development.

[See the full agenda]


History of Minnesota mini-sessions

Fourteen mini-sessions occurred from 1985-1997, but zero since.

Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) has chronicled those events in a presentation he shared earlier this year with the House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Division.

[MORE: Watch the presentation]

“Returning to the tradition of mini-sessions will help to better bring the experiences of Minnesotans from outside of the Twin Cities to the Legislature,” Pelowski said in a statement. “The hearings, tours, and presentations being held in Winona and the surrounding communities aim to highlight the economic needs of southeastern Minnesota, and I look forward to sharing our city with my colleagues.”

The Legislative Reference Library has created a new resource about the histroy of mini-sessions.

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