Minnesota State Senate
|Minnesota State Senate|
|2013 session start:||January 8, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Sandra Pappas, (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Thomas Bakk, (D)|
|Minority leader:||David Hann, (R)|
| Democratic Party (39) |
Republican Party (28)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, Minnesota Constitution|
|Salary:||$31,140.90 + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 (67 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014 (67 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Minnesota Legislature subcommittee has control|
State senators are paid a salary of $31,140 per year. During the regular legislative session, legislators can be reimbursed up to $96 per day for travel and living expenses when away from home. Legislators can collect the "per diem" payments seven days a week during the legislative session, whether or not they are actually at the state house. The per diem payments are included toward the recipient's pension and can add more than forty percent to some members' income.  
Article IV of the Minnesota Constitution establishes when the Minnesota State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 12 of Article IV states that the Legislature is not to meet in regular session for more than 120 legislative days in each two-year period between legislative elections. Section 12 also does not allow the Legislature to meet in regular session after the first Monday following the third Saturday in May of any year. Within these limits, Section 12 allows the Legislature to decide its meeting dates by law.
As such, MN Statute 3.011 establishes that on odd numbered years the legislature must convene on the first Monday in January, unless that lands on January 1, in which case the legislature must convene by the first Wednesday after the first Monday. The legislature is required to set its own date for even numbered years.
Section 12 of Article IV states that the Governor of Minnesota can call special sessions of the Legislature on extraordinary occasions.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through May 20.
The most important issue facing lawmakers is passing a new two-year budget in the face of a $1.1 billion deficit. Leaders also seek to address education funding, making schools safer, legalizing gay marriage, and controlling health care costs.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 24 to May 10.
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 4 through May 23.
In 2010, the Senate was in session from February 4th to March 17th.
- See also: Minnesota State Senate elections, 2012
Although Minnesota senators typically serve four-year terms, they are elected to a two-year term during the first election of the decade. This allows for legislative elections to fall shortly after redistricting is completed. Since Minnesota Senate terms are not staggered, all sitting members will be on the ballot in November.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Minnesota State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 20||Kevin Dahle||0.2%||41,178||Mike Dudley|
|District 39||Karin Housley||1.4%||46,139||Julie Bunn|
|District 48||David Hann||2.8%||46,189||Laurie McKendry|
|District 53||Susan Kent||4.4%||43,638||Ted Lillie|
|District 4||Kent Eken||4.5%||37,965||Phil Hansen|
|District 5||Tom Saxhaug||4.8%||40,663||John Carlson|
|District 21||Kevin Dahle||5%||41,783||Mike Dudley|
|District 14||John Pederson||5.2%||36,785||Jerry McCarter|
|District 24||Vicki Jensen||5.4%||36,534||Vern Swedin|
|District 49||Melisa Franzen||5.6%||50,938||Keith Downey|
- See also: Minnesota State Senate elections, 2010
Elections for the office of Minnesota State Senate were held in Minnesota on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was June 1, 2010 and the primary election day was on September 14, 2010.
In 2010, the candidates for state house raised a total of $5,109,415 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: 
|2010 Donors, Minnesota State Senate|
|6th Senate District Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party||$23,500|
|Nelson Carla Jean House District 30A Cmte||$14,014|
|Minnesota Telecom Alliance||$14,000|
|Faegre & Benson||$11,900|
|Minnesota Association of Realtors||$11,750|
|Minnesota Dental Association||$11,600|
To be eligible to run for the Minnesota State Senate in 2010, a candidate must be:
- Eligible to vote in Minnesota
- Have not filed for more than one office for the upcoming primary or general election
- At least 21 years old by January 3, 2011
- A resident of Minnesota for a least one year
- A resident of the legislative district for at least 6 months before November 2, 2010
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
In Minnesota, all vacancies in the Senate must be filled by a special election. It is up to the appropriate elections authorities to schedule an election as soon as possible. The election must be held during the next general election if there is more than 150 days left in the term. If the Senate is in session, a special election must be called by the Governor no later than 35 days after the vacancy happened. If a vacancy happens when the Senate is out of session and less than 150 days are left in the term, a special election must called by the Governor as soon as possible. This is to allow the winner of the election to be sworn in when the Senate reconvenes.
- See also: Redistricting in Minnesota
The Legislature handles redistricting, with the Governor holding veto power. Each chamber has its own redistricting committee, with a joint committee of two Republicans and two Democrats from each chamber.
Minnesota received its local census data on March 16, 2011. The state's population increased 7.8 percent, even though four of the five most populated cities showed slight decreases in population; only Rochester (pop. 106,769, up 24.4 percent) showed growth.
At the time of redistricting, Republicans controlled the Legislature, and Democrats the governorship; redistricting was expected to favor Republicans as Democrats held numerous underrepresented districts. Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the legislative plan on May 19, 2011. In June 2011, a panel created by the Minnesota Supreme Court took over the process when it heard lawsuits over the matter, even though the Legislature's deadline of February 2012 had not yet come up. On February 21, 2012, the panel released a final map, pairing 16 incumbents in the Senate.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Minnesota legislature are paid $31,140.90/year. Senators receive $96/day per diem while representatives receive $66/day. The rates are set by the legislature.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2013|
In the Minnesota Senate, members of the majority caucus elect a leader, who directs the business of the Senate and is considered the leader of the Senate. The minority caucus elects its own leaders. The Senate President is elected on the opening day of each biennial session.
|Current Leadership, Minnesota State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Sandra Pappas||Democratic|
|State Senate President Pro Tempore||Ann Rest||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Thomas Bakk||Democratic|
|State Senate Deputy Majority Leader||Jeff Hayden||Democratic|
|State Senate Assistant Majority Leader||Katie Sieben||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Whip||Chris Eaton||Democratic|
|State Senate Minority Leader||David Hann||Republican|
When sworn in
Minnesota legislators assume office the first day of biennial (2-year) session. Minnesota law provides that: "The legislature shall meet at the seat of government on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year. When the first Monday in January falls on January 1, it shall meet on the first Wednesday after the first Monday. It shall also meet when called by the governor to meet in special session." 
The Minnesota Senate has sixteen (13) standing committees:
- Capital Investment
- Commerce Protection
- Environment and Energy
- Health, Human Services and Housing
- Higher Education and Workforce Development
- Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development
- Judiciary and Public Safety
- Rules and Administration
- State and Local Government
- Transportation and Public Safety
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Minnesota State Senate for 20 years while the Republicans were the majority for two years. The Minnesota State Senate is one of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. For the final year of the study Minnesota was under a Democratic trifecta.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- Minnesota Senate official website
- Minnesota Legislature official website
- Minnesota official 2006 election results
- Senate Briefly, Daily Coverage of the 2009 session
- Wikipedia:85th Minnesota Legislature
- Minnesota State Senate election results
- ↑ Population in 2010 of the American states
- ↑ Population in 2000 of the American states
- ↑ Minnesota term constraints
- ↑ Senator Demographics, Eighty-Sixth Legislature
- ↑ Minnesota State Legislature, "Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature"
- ↑ WCCO-TV, Reality Check: Who's Getting the Most Per Diem?,January 14, 2009
- ↑ Twin Cities, "Minnesota Legislature convenes for official start of session," January 9, 2013
- ↑ Follow the Money: "Minnesota Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- ↑ 2010 Guide for Candidates
- ↑ Minnesota Revisor of Statutes "Minnesota Election Law"(Referenced Statute 351.055)
- ↑ Minnesota Revisor of Statutes "Minnesota Election Law"(Referenced Statute 204D.19 (1)-(3))
- ↑ U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Minnesota's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," March 16, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- ↑ NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- ↑ Minnesota Legislature - "FAQ - How are leaders in the House and Senate chosen?"
- ↑ Minnesota Senate - 2009-2010 leadership list
- ↑ Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 3, Section 3.05
- ↑ Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 3, Section 3.011
State of Minnesota
St. Paul (capital)
Minnesota State Constitution | House of Representatives | Senate | County Attorney | House Research Department | Legislative Reference Library | Senate Counsel Research and Fiscal Analysis | Legislative Auditor |
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Commissioner of Management and Budget | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor and Industry | Chair of Public Utilities |
Data Practices Act | Transparency Checklist | Government corruption reports | Transparency Legislation | Open Records procedures | Transparency Advocates | Transparency blogs | State budget | Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations |