New Minnesota House committee structure unveiled

/ 18 November 2014 / Shawna
Lee Ann Schutz Wahi, Twin Cities Daily Planet (Session Daily), November 18, 2014

House Republican leadership announced the chairs and committee structure for the 89th legislative biennium scheduled to convene Jan. 6, 2015.

“Our committee structure reflects our priorities: growing good-paying jobs, protecting our seniors’ quality of life, giving our students a world-class education and prioritizing roads and bridges,” House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said in a statement.

[Read the full news release]

The recommendation of 26 committees and divisions is fewer than the 30 groups during the last biennium when the DFL held the House majority. Meeting times and locations have yet to be announced.

In a statement, current House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls), in part, reflected on the elimination of an early childhood committee.

“Strengthening and expanding early learning opportunities offers a big key to narrowing our achievement gap and building an economy of strength for the next generation,” he said.

Committees act as filters, deciding which of the thousands of bills in the two-year biennium get heard, approved and then moved through the process.

Traditionally, committee membership is named by mid-December.

Under House Rules, 30 days before a new session convenes, the speaker-designate submits to the leader of the minority caucus the committee structure, along with the number of minority caucus members to be appointed to each committee. The minority caucus members make their assignment requests through the minority leader, who submits the names to the speaker-designate at least 15 days before convening a new session. However, again according to House Rules, “a committee of the House must not have exclusive membership from one profession, occupation or vocation.”

While members can express their committee preference, the decision of who serves where is left to the speaker.

Once session begins, the House website will be updated with information, including membership, staff, schedules, agendas, minutes and access to audio and/or video coverage of the meetings.

2015-16 Committee Name (Chair)

Aging & Long-Term Care Policy (Rep. Joe Schomacker )

Agriculture Finance (Rep. Rod Hamilton )

Agriculture Policy (Rep. Paul Anderson )

Capital Investment (Rep. Paul Torkelson )

Civil Law & Data Practices (Rep. Peggy Scott )

Commerce & Regulatory Reform (Rep. Joe Hoppe )

Education Finance (Rep. Jenifer Loon )

Education Innovation Policy (Rep. Sondra Erickson )

Environment & Natural Resources Policy & Finance(Rep. Denny McNamara )

Government Operations & Elections Policy (Rep. Tim Sanders )

Greater Minnesota Economic & Workforce Development Policy (Rep. Bob Gunther )

HHS Finance (Rep. Matt Dean )

HHS Reform (Rep. Tara Mack )

Higher Education Policy & Finance (Rep. Bud Nornes )

Job Growth & Energy Affordability Policy & Finance (Rep. Pat Garofalo )

Legacy Funding Finance (Rep. Dean Urdahl )

Mining & Outdoor Recreation Policy (Rep. Tom Hackbarth )

Property Tax & Local Government Finance Division (Taxes) (Rep. Steve Drazkowski )

Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy & Finance (Rep. Tony Cornish )

Rules & Legislative Administration (Rep. Joyce Peppin )

State Government Finance (Rep. Sara Anderson )

Taxes (Rep. Greg Davids )

Transportation Policy & Finance (Rep. Tim Kelly )

Veterans Affairs Division (SGF) (Rep. Bob Dettmer )

Ways & Means (Rep. Jim Knoblach )

Ethics (Rep. Sondra Erickson )