Presidential Executive Orders have been in the news of late with the announcement of President Barack Obama's recent executive action related to immigration. Their use can be controversial and their effect powerful. President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any other president in the past 100 years when you look at the average number of executive orders per year in office. Similarly, Governor Mark Dayton has issued 82 executive orders during his time in office, far below former Governor Wendell Anderson's total of 143 over his four year term, the most issued by recent Minnesota governors.
State level executive orders can be just as important as state statutes and are considered public documents. The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has been collecting Minnesota executive orders since the library's founding. The Library's searchable Minnesota Executive Orders database includes the full-text of executive orders from 1968 to the present.
In a recent Sunlight Foundation study, policy analysts evaluated all 50 states on the accessibility of their governor's executive orders. Minnesota earned an A, scoring high marks for machine readability, permanence, and timeliness of availability (how quickly executive orders are posted after issuance). The Foundation evaluated the Legislative Library’s database rather than the collection of executive orders available on the website of the Minnesota governor. Governors traditionally post executive orders for their administration only; when administrations change, this set of valuable historical information can be lost - or buried in state archives.
Just one more way the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library provides Minnesotans access to a notable set of information.
The 2014 election is upon us and many remember interesting elections from previous years. The Legislative Reference Library has a few books that recount the stories.
Electing Jesse Ventura: A Third-Party Success Story. Jacob Lentz reports on the unexpected victory of third-party candidate Jesse Ventura over major-party candidates Norm Coleman and Skip Humphrey in the 1998 race for governor. (JK6193 1998)
Minnesota Standoff: The Politics of Deadlock. Rod Searle writes about the process that led to the compromise between the two parties and his selection as House Speaker after the 1978 election resulted in a 67-67 tie in the Minnesota House. (JK6171 .S43 1990)
Recount. Ronald F. Stinnett and Charles H. Backstrom tell the story of the 139-day recount that resulted from the 1962 gubernatorial election. Karl Rolvaag eventually took office in March of the following year with a 91 vote lead over incumbent Governor Elmer Andersen. (JK6152 1962 .S7)
There is No November. Dave Hoium and Leon Oistad recount first-hand the surprising turn of events when allegations against Republican-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jon Grunseth forced him to quit nine days before election day in 1990. Arne Carlson, who lost the endorsement to Grunseth months earlier, took his place on the ballot and defeated incumbent Governor Rudy Perpich. (JK6195 .H65 1991)
This is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount. Jay Weiner tells the story of the recount that followed the 2008 election. Eventually Al Franken was sworn in as the junior Senator from Minnesota in July 2009 with a 312 vote lead over Norm Coleman. (JK1968 2008 .W45 2010)
No one has written a book about the turn of events surrounding the 2002 U.S. Senate election following Senator Paul Wellstone’s death on October 25, 2002. Walter Mondale’s autobiography, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics (E840.8.M66 A3 2010) has a section on it and the Library has compiled documents related to the election.
Contact a librarian at 651-296-8338, or firstname.lastname@example.org, to request these books.
Now's the time to clean out those closets! We want your used books, DVD/VHS movies, books on tape/CD, music CDs, and puzzles for the 2014 Combined Charities Used Book Sale. Drop off your donations at any of three convenient locations by Monday, October 21: the Legislative Reference Library (Room 645 State Office Building), the Chief Clerk’s Office (Room 211 Capitol), or House Supply (Room G35 State Office Building). Donations from the public are welcomed and appreciated. This is an excellent way to get a tax deduction—receipts for your donations are available upon request.
The Combined Charities Used Book Sale will be held on November 5 and 6 in Room 500N of the State Office Building, and is open to the public.
The Legislative Reference Library and the Office of the Secretary of State have just completed a major project digitizing 40,000 previously unavailable official state documents.
The Office of the Secretary of State, as the repository for many of the official records of the state of Minnesota, have kept the official documents from 1900 to 1990, and the index cards used to retrieve them, secure in cabinets and boxes. Now they are available to everyone online: Secretary of State Documents 1900-1990.
Among the interesting findings --
Other documents capture less momentous but important state events --
Access to this rich resource of official state information was funded through a grant from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Everyone's been asking--does the Legislature ever adjourn early?
Since flexible sessions began in 1973, the Legislature has never adjourned early in the first half of the biennium. The Minnesota Constitution limits the length of a regular session in two ways—it requires that the Legislature adjourn by the first Monday after the third Saturday in May of any year and it limits the number of legislative days in a biennium to 120.
The second year of the biennium is another story—they have adjourned sine die before the constitutional adjournment date in all but two years since 1973. And those two years are subject to interpretation. On May 16, 2010, the Legislature adjourned a day before the deadline. But they adjourned with unfinished business and went into special session on May 17th. In 2002, the House adjourned two days before the required adjournment date of May 20th but the Senate didn’t adjourn until the deadline.
The Legislature has adjourned as early as March four times-- over fifty days before the May deadline.. The earliest March date was March 17th in 1986. Other March adjournments happened in 1974, 1978, and 1982. March 29, 1974 was notable because they had already used 116 of the allotted 120 legislative days.
The Legislative Reference Library has a detailed chart on the dates and number of legislative days for regular and special sessions. We compiled a spreadsheet showing details on adjournments too.
It remains to be seen when adjournment will occur this year!