By David Schmidtke
The Minnesota deer hunting season is just around the corner. During the 2015 legislative session, informational hearings were held to discuss the concerns of hunters regarding the declining deer herd in Minnesota. On April 17, 2015, the Legislative Audit Commission voted to direct the Legislative Auditor to evaluate the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) deer management process. The Legislative Auditor's report is scheduled to be released in early 2016.
The DNR completed new deer population goals for 40 of the 128 deer permit areas in the state but is postponing the remaining goal setting until the completion of the legislative audit. The completed Deer Population Goals were done in five blocks:
Superior Uplands Arrowhead: Minnesota Deer Population Goals
North Central Plains - Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals
Pine Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals
East Central Uplands: Minnesota Deer Population Goals
Sand Plain – Big Woods: Minnesota Deer Population Goals
According to the DNR, "As a result of this process, 85 percent of the 40 areas will be managed for populations higher than those experienced in 2014; the remaining will see no change." Additional deer population goal setting resources including Hunter and Landowner Survey Results and Deer Advisory Team Recommendations are available in the "2015 goal setting" section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Deer Management website.
Books & Reports
By Elizabeth Lincoln
On July 13, 2015, Representative Phyllis Kahn and Representative Lyndon Carlson will surpass former Representative Willard Munger's record of 15,532 days as the longest serving House members in state history. Both legislators began serving in the Minnesota House on January 2, 1973.
Three Minnesota legislators served even longer with a combination of House and Senate service. Rep. Kahn and Rep. Carlson may surpass those records should they continue to serve into 2017.
Rep. Kahn and Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Texas are tied for the second-longest serving female state legislators in the nation, according to Katie Fischer Ziegler, Program Manager of the Women's Legislative Network of NCSL. It'll be tough to beat the longest serving female legislator in the nation--Rep. Brynhild Haugland served for 52 years in the North Dakota House, from her election in 1938 until her retirement in 1990. And even tougher to beat the longest serving state legislator--Senator Fred Risser has served in the Wisconsin Legislature for 58 years.
Thanks to Tom Olmscheid for the use of his photograph of the two legislators taken during the 2015 legislative session.
By Elizabeth Lincoln
Legislative librarians at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library are fortunate to have colleagues in most of the fifty states. Recently, two Minnesota library staff were able to visit other legislative libraries on trips eastward. I visited Evelyn Andrews, Senate Librarian, at the beautiful Senate Library in Pennsylvania in October.
In June, Minnesota legislative librarian, Alyssa Novak Jones, stopped in at the North Carolina General Assembly Library. Alyssa met with Cathy Martin, the chief librarian, and her staff.
We occasionally get to meet fellow legislative librarians in-person at National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) professional development seminars or legislative summits, but our primary contact is electronically through NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section listserv.
Last summer, Minnesota hosted legislative librarians from around the United States as part of NCSL's 2014 Legislative Summit. We didn't want our colleagues who could not attend to miss out so we shared our experiences through a blog. Minnesota librarians also wrote a blog for our legislative librarian colleagues when we hosted the Legislative Research Librarians professional development seminar in St. Paul in 2009. Our electronic and personal connections with our legislative librarian colleagues are always informative--and often fun!
By Elizabeth Lincoln
With the Minnesota State Capitol closed for renovation, the Minnesota Legislature is scheduled to meet in special session in the next week or two in modest, temporary chambers in two State Office Building hearing rooms. Territorial legislatures met in a variety of locations but the Minnesota House and Senate have met in one of the three Minnesota capitols since the first one was built in 1853.
We were able to find one notable exception! On March 1, 1881, the first State Capitol caught fire during an evening session in one of the final days of the 1881 legislative session. The House and Senate quickly adjourned when the fire was discovered. The Capitol was "totally destroyed" according to a story in the Minneapolis Tribune the next morning. The Tribune states that "steps were taken promptly during the evening by the mayor and lieutenant-governor and speaker for the legislature to resume its session this morning in the new market building." By 11 am the next morning, the Legislature was meeting in Market House a few blocks away at 7th and Wabasha. The 1881 Legislature also met at Market House later that year for a special session.
Although the hearing rooms in the State Office Building will be modest compared to the elegant House and Senate chambers in the beautiful 1905 Capitol, current legislators will not need to "take measures for the proper covering of the floor of the Hall with some thing other than saw dust" as they did during the 1881 special session at Market House!
Capitol renovation has booted the House out of its chamber during a previous special session. The House met in the Senate chamber during the 1989 special session.
By Elizabeth Lincoln & Carol Blackburn
Another session has come to an end and library staff are busy updating our various statistical compilations about the Minnesota Legislature. It's always interesting to see how the current session compares to past sessions. One thing that stands out this year is the low number of bills that passed. The 2015 Minnesota Legislature passed 80 bills with only 77 of those being enacted. That is the lowest number of bills enacted during a regular session since Minnesota became a state. Compiled session statistics show that several territorial legislatures had fewer bills enacted, the lowest number being 23 during the 2nd Territorial Legislature in 1851.
The chart above illustrates the gradual decline in laws enacted since the Minnesota Legislature began meeting in flexible sessions in 1973. Interestingly, the highest number of enactments (1,159) occurred in 1969, shortly before the switch to flexible sessions. That is illustrated by another chart that also shows that the number of laws enacted has fluctuated over time.
The percentage of introduced bills that were enacted has also been in gradual decline since 1875. In 2015, only 1.67% of bills introduced were enacted--another record low.