Ethics Committee, Minnesota House of Representatives

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Senate Committees

The Ethics Committee is a standing committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Per Rule 6.01 of the House Rules, standing committees of the Minnesota House of Representatives are appointed by the Speaker of the House.[1] Committees are appointed at the beginning of each biennial session. Up to 30 days prior to the session, the Speaker-designate is to submit a list of proposed standing committees and divisions to all minority caucuses. Up to 15 days before the session's start, the Minority Leader may submit proposed minority assignments to the Speaker-designate, who must comply in keeping with attaining proportionate representation. With the exception of the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration, one may not serve as chair of a committee or another with a similar jurisdiction for longer than three consecutive two-year sessions.[2]

DocumentIcon.jpg See rules: Permanent Rules of the House 2013 - 2014


The committee holds public hearings on bills to put each bill into its best form. During the bill's hearing, the committee can take testimony from the bill's sponsors, the general public and experts in the areas the bill affects.

The committee has several courses of action it can take:

  • amend the bill;
  • combine two or more bills under one file number;
  • recommend a bill to pass as introduced;
  • recommend it be passed as amended;
  • send it to another committee for consideration;
  • vote not to approve the bill; or
  • table it, which in essence delays action.[3][4]
The Speaker must appoint a Committee on Ethics consisting of four members: two members from the majority political party caucus, and two from the minority caucus. One alternate from each caucus must also be appointed. The committee must adopt written procedures, which must include due process requirements, for handling complaints and issuing guidelines.

A complaint may be brought about conduct by a member that violates a rule or administrative policy of the House, that violates accepted norms of House behavior, that betrays the public trust, or that tends to bring the House into dishonor or disrepute.

A complaint about a member's conduct must present with specificity the factual evidence supporting the complaint. A complaint must be in writing, under oath and signed by two or more members of the House, and submitted to the Speaker. Before submitting the complaint to the Speaker, the complainants must cause a copy of it and any supporting materials to be delivered to any member named in the complaint. Within seven days after receiving a complaint, the Speaker must refer the complaint to the Ethics Committee for processing by the committee according to its rules of procedure.

The existence and substance of a complaint, including any supporting materials, and all proceedings, meetings, hearings, and records of the Ethics Committee are public; except that the committee, upon a majority vote of the whole committee, may meet in executive session to consider or determine the question of probable cause, to consider a member's medical or other health records, or to protect the privacy of a victim or a third party.

A complaint of a breach of confidentiality by a member or employee of the House must be immediately referred by the Speaker to the Ethics Committee for disciplinary action.

The committee must act in an investigatory capacity and may make recommendations regarding complaints submitted to the Speaker before adjournment sine die. With the approval of the Speaker, the committee may retain a retired judge or other nonpartisan legal advisor to advise and assist the committee, as the committee considers appropriate and necessary in the circumstances of the case, in conducting the proceedings and obtaining a complete and accurate understanding of the information relevant to the conduct in question.

Ethics Committee recommendations for disciplinary action must be supported by clear and convincing evidence and must be reported to the House for final disposition.[5][4]



The following table describes committee membership at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session.

Ethics Members, 2013
Democratic members (3)Republican members (3)
Jim Davnie, ChairTim Kelly
Mary MurphyTara Mack
Joe AtkinsKelby Woodard


The following table describes committee membership for the 2011 legislative session.


The following table describes committee membership for the 2009 legislative session.

External links