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Rules committee adopts temporary rules; more discussion planned next week

A sparse crowd of members gathers in the House Chamber on the first day of the 2021-22 legislative session Jan. 5. Photo by Paul Battaglia
A sparse crowd of members gathers in the House Chamber on the first day of the 2021-22 legislative session Jan. 5. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Each biennium, the House establishes permanent rules under which it operates. The rules set up committee structure, establish rules on debate decorum, and the like.

The House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee took a step in the direction of establishing those permanent rules Wednesday, by approving temporary rules, as amended, and sent them to the House Floor.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), the committee chair, said they would only be adopting temporary rules for now based on concerns about some proposed changes Republicans want more time to consider. He said the committee will revisit the proposed changes again in more detail next week.

House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee 1/6/21

The temporary rules would establish 31 House committees and divisions, down from 35 in the last biennium. Winkler said the changes would put the structure more in line with the Senate’s committee structure, thus making the work of conference committees easier.

They would also extend Rule 10.01, which has allowed the House to operate remotely during the pandemic, until the “last day of the 92nd Regular Session.” That provision had been set to expire on Jan. 31, 2021.

Eighteen non-controversial administrative resolutions, policies, and reports dealing with the business operations of the House were approved, including employee compensation, use of per diem and travel benefits by members, postage for official House business, and monthly stipends to help staff pay for equipment and internet services required to work remotely.

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