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Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Chief Clerk's Office

211 State Capitol St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-296-2314
Fax: 651-296-1326
Patrick Murphy, Chief Clerk


The principal mission of the Chief Clerk's Office, broadly stated, is to provide assistance and advice to the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in meeting the legal and parliamentary requirements of the lawmaking process and to record the history of that process in a clear, unbiased, and accurate manner. Many of the responsibilities associated with fulfilling this mission are created and/or vested in the Chief Clerk's Office by constitutional, statutory, and rule provisions and as such, must be taken very seriously. The Minnesota Constitution and Minnesota Statutes require that the Chief Clerk's Office compile, print and publish a daily and permanent journal, which documents all official House action including roll call votes. A failure to faithfully discharge this responsibility could result in legal challenges to the validity of enacted legislation. The Permanent Rules of the House also assign a number of responsibilities to the Chief Clerk's Office including general supervision of all clerical duties pertaining to the business of the House, overseeing the engrossment and enrollment of bills, and the preparation and updating of comprehensive bill indexes by number, topic, author, subject, etc. The coordination and orchestration of daily session activities, in consultation with House leadership and in compliance with legal requirements, is therefore truly the critical function of the Chief Clerk's Office.

Another vitally important responsibility of the Chief Clerk's Office, implicit in our main mission, is to provide and disseminate information to members, staff, and the general public relevant to the legislative process. This information includes: providing copies of bills, journals, and daily agendas or calendars; responding to questions about bill status over the telephone; conducting classes on parliamentary procedure; and how to access and utilize MLIS (Minnesota Legislative Information System). The public relations, education, and communication function is one area that will continue to see the most dramatic change of all functions in the Chief Clerk's Office, given the rapid development of information systems technology and the potential impact it has for revolutionizing public access to the legislative process.

Explanation Of Calendars

Upon introduction and first reading, all bills are referred to House committees for consideration. The report on a bill by a committee includes a recommendation for placement of that bill on one of the following calendars for consideration by the entire House of Representatives: calendar diagram

General Register (white)

The General Register is a list of all bills that have been acted upon by one or more standing committees and have been given a second reading. Each bill must be published and made available to members and the public before it may be placed on the Calendar for the Day or the Fiscal Calendar. The Chief Clerk's Office must publish an updated list of bills on the General Register each day that the House meets in floor session.

There are two methods of bringing a bill before the House for consideration once a bill has been placed on the General Register:

1.) The Calendar for the Day (yellow)
Bills on the Calendar for the Day may be considered for final passage by the House. The Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration designates which bills are to be placed on the Calendar for the Day by 5:00 p.m. the day before the bills are to be placed on the Calendar for the Day, except that the Committee may designate the bills at any time after a day specified by the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration. Once the committee has designated the bills, the Chief Clerk's Office must publish the Calendar for the Day. Amendments may be offered to bills on the Calendar for the Day before each bill is given a Third Reading prior to final passage.

2.) The Fiscal Calendar (green)
Bills on the Fiscal Calendar may be considered for final passage by the House. Any bill that either raises revenue or that relates to taxes, or any finance bill shall be acted upon when requested by the Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means or the Chair of the Committee on Taxes, or designees of those Chairs. An announcement of the intention to place a bill on the Fiscal Calendar must be made by 5:00 p.m. the day before it is to be considered for final passage. The Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration may designate a date after which the chair (or a designee of the chair) may request consideration of bills at any time. During periods when the 5:00 p.m. requirement does not apply, the chair must announce the intention at least two hours before making the request. Amendments may be offered to bills on the Fiscal Calendar before each bill is given a Third Reading prior to final passage.

Journal Of the House

The Journal of the House is the official legal record of all House floor action. The journal is not a word for word transcript of legislative sessions. It is a record of what is done rather than what is said. The Journal of the House contains the chronology of a bill from the bill's introduction to its final passage.

The Minnesota House is required by the Minnesota Constitution and Minnesota Statutes to publish both a daily journal and a permanent journal. The Journal of the House is structured around the daily order of business as set forth in House rule 1.03. The journal contains bill introductions, committee reports, messages from the Senate, veto messages and other communications from the Governor and Secretary of State, conference committee reports, motions, amendments and all recorded roll call votes taken in the House.

The courts in the state of Minnesota have ruled that Minnesota is a "Journal Entry State" under which the journals of the House and the Senate may be examined as evidence that the legislature properly complied with the constitutional requirements in the enactment of a law.

Departments of the Chief Clerk's Office

House Desk (Chamber)

House desk staff ensures that House business is carried out in accordance with the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, the Permanent Rules of the House and all other rules and laws that relate to legislative operations and the enactment of laws. Staff organizes orders of business, prepares motions, records roll call votes, answers parliamentary questions, compiles the Journal ofthe House, and offers advice regarding procedure.

Third Floor (Administrative Support - Floor Proceedings)

Third floor staff assist the House Desk with the production of all calendars (General Register, Calendar for the Day, and Fiscal Calendar ) and other documents including the compilation of the daily and permanent journal. It also oversees the duplication of documents for floor use.

Front Office (Documents Distribution)

Front office staff distributes printed bills, calendars, journals, chapters, and other documents to the public, legislators, and staff. Staff also provide information pertaining to legislative procedure.

Index Department (Bill Status)

The Index department records all official House action on legislation from the Journal of the House. Staff also prepare short and long descriptions of all bills and using these descriptions prepares various indexes (Topical, Numerical, and Authors). The data that is prepared is entered on the Minnesota Legislative Bill Tracking website to help the public, staff, and legislators monitor legislation. For bill status inquiries, select reports, or information on training and use of the House Index Information system, please contact the House Index Department at (651) 296-6646.

Information Technologies

We maintain hardware and develop software to support the work of the House. We provide support to users throughout the Chief Clerk's Office as well as throughout the House. Systems supported include House Web, House journals, House Index, and House email. We also provide network and server support for the House's Internet services and provide Internet information on bills, rules, and laws.