Minnesota State Senate

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Minnesota State Senate

Seal of Minnesota.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   January 24, 2012
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Michelle Fischbach, (R)
Majority Leader:   David Senjem, (R)
Minority leader:   Thomas Bakk, (D)
Members:  67
   Democratic Party (

Republican Party (

Vacant (1)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Minnesota Constitution
Salary:   $31,140.90 + per diem
Last Election:  November 2, 2010 (67 seats)
Next election:  November 6, 2012 (67 seats)
Redistricting:  Minnesota Legislature subcommittee has control
The Minnesota Senate is the upper house of the Minnesota Legislature. There are 67 Senatorial districts, indicated by number. Each member represents an average of 79,163 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 73,425 residents.[2] Senators generally serve four-year terms.[3] Terms are not limited in Minnesota.[4] The 2010 session convened on February 4th.

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. [5] [6]


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 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate will be in session from January 24 through May 21.

Major issues

Republicans and Democrats are both hopeful that the 2012 session will be a fresh start after last year's budget showdown that led to a three-week government shutdown. Major issues include job creation, economic development and whether to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.[7]


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

Elections for the office of Minnesota State Senate will be held in Minnesota on November 6, 2012. A total of 67 seats will be up for election.

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 signature filing deadline is June 5, 2012 and the primary date is August 14, 2012.


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: [8]

Donor Amount
Public Fund $866,745
Public Fund $559,372
Housley, Karin $39,555
6th Senate District Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party $23,500
Nelson Carla Jean House District 30A Cmte $14,014
Minnesota Telecom Alliance $14,000
Education Minnesota $12,900
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:[9]

  • 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


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

In Minnesota, all vacancies in the Senate must be filled by a special election[10]. 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[11].



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2011, members of the Minnesota legislature are paid $31,140.90/year. Senators receive $86/day per diem while representatives receive $77/day. The rates are set by the legislature/rules committee.[12]

The $31,140.90/year that Minnesota legislators are paid as of 2011 is the same as they were paid during legislative sessions in 2010 and 2007. Per diem is also the same as in 2007, but decreased from $96/day in 2010.[13][14]

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of July 2014
     Democratic Party 39
     Republican Party 28
Total 67


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.[15][16]

Current leadership

Position Representative Party
President of the Senate Michelle Fischbach Ends.png Republican
State Senate President Pro Tempore Gen Olson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader David Senjem Ends.png Republican
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dave Thompson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Doug Magnus Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader David Hann Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chris Gerlach Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Thomas Bakk Electiondot.png Democratic

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Minnesota legislators assume office the first day of biennial (2-year) session.[17] 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." [18]

List of current members

District Representative Party Residence
1 Stumpf, LeRoy Electiondot.png Democratic Plummer
2 Skoe, Rod Electiondot.png Democratic Clearbrook
3 Saxhaug, Tom Electiondot.png Democratic Grand Rapids
4 John Carlson Ends.png Republican Bemidji
5 Tomassoni, David J. Electiondot.png Democratic Chisholm
6 Bakk, Thomas M. Electiondot.png Democratic Cook
7 Roger Reinert Electiondot.png Democratic Duluth
8 Lourey, Tony Electiondot.png Democratic Kerrick
9 Langseth, Keith Electiondot.png Democratic Glyndon
10 Gretchen Hoffman Ends.png Republican Hewitt
11 Ingebrigtsen, Bill Ends.png Republican Alexandria
12 Paul Gazelka Ends.png Republican Fort Ripley
13 Gimse, Joe Ends.png Republican Willmar
14 Fischbach, Michelle Ends.png Republican Paynesville
15 John Pederson Ends.png Republican St. Cloud
16 Dave Brown Ends.png Republican Princeton
17 Sean Nienow Ends.png Republican Harris
18 Scott Newman Ends.png Republican Dassel
19 Koch, Amy T. Ends.png Republican Buffalo
20 Vacant Electiondot.png Democratic Granite Falls
21 Gary Dahms Ends.png Republican New Ulm
22 Doug Magnus Ends.png Republican Tracy
23 Sheran, Kathy Electiondot.png Democratic Mankato
24 Rosen, Julie Ends.png Republican Fairmont
25 Al DeKruif Ends.png Republican Northfield
26 Parry, Mike Ends.png Republican
27 Sparks, Dan Electiondot.png Democratic Austin
28 John Howe Ends.png Republican Red Wing
29 Senjem, David H. Ends.png Republican Rochester
30 Carla Nelson Ends.png Republican Rochester
31 Jeremy Miller Ends.png Republican Winona
32 Limmer, Warren Ends.png Republican Maple Grove
33 Olson, Gen Ends.png Republican Minnetrista
34 Ortman, Julianne E. Ends.png Republican Chanhassen
35 Robling, Claire Ends.png Republican Jordan
36 Dave Thompson Ends.png Republican Farmington
37 Gerlach, Chris Ends.png Republican Apple Valley
38 Ted Daley Ends.png Republican Eagan
39 Metzen, James P. Electiondot.png Democratic South St. Paul
40 Dan Hall Ends.png Republican Burnsville
41 Michel, Geoff Ends.png Republican Edina
42 Hann, David Ends.png Republican Eden Prairie
43 Bonoff, Terri Electiondot.png Democratic Minnetonka
44 Latz, Ron Electiondot.png Democratic St. Louis Park
45 Rest, Ann H. Electiondot.png Democratic New Hope
46 Chris Eaton Electiondot.png Democratic Brooklyn Center
47 Benjamin Kruse Ends.png Republican Coon Rapids
48 Jungbauer, Mike Ends.png Republican East Bethel
49 Michelle Benson Ends.png Republican Ham Lake
50 Barbara Goodwin Electiondot.png Democratic Fridley
51 Pam Wolf Ends.png Republican Fridley
52 Vandeveer, Ray Ends.png Republican Forest Lake
53 Roger Chamberlain Ends.png Republican White Bear Lake
54 Marty, John Electiondot.png Democratic Roseville
55 Wiger, Chuck Electiondot.png Democratic North St. Paul
56 Ted Lillie Ends.png Republican Woodbury
57 Sieben, Katie Electiondot.png Democratic Newport
58 Higgins, Linda Electiondot.png Democratic Minneapolis
59 Kari Dziedzic Electiondot.png Democratic Minneapolis
60 Dibble, Scott Electiondot.png Democratic Minneapolis
61 Jeff Hayden Electiondot.png Democratic Minneapolis
62 Torres Ray, Patricia Electiondot.png Democratic Minneapolis
63 Kelash, Ken Electiondot.png Democratic Bloomington
64 Cohen, Dick Electiondot.png Democratic St. Paul
65 Pappas, Sandy Electiondot.png Democratic St. Paul
66 Mary Jo McGuire Electiondot.png Democratic St. Paul
67 John Harrington Electiondot.png Democratic St. Paul

Standing committees

The Minnesota Senate has sixteen (16) standing committees:

External links