Two weeks after taking control of the Minnesota House and Senate, Republicans cut the number of committees by a third and better aligned the two chambers. GOP House Speaker-designate Kurt Zellers stood next to a chart of the old DFL structure and called it a “plate of spaghetti” that many found difficult to follow. Now the House and Senate committees line up more directly as in the chart below.
One lobbyist called the move “huge” and the room was packed with lobbyists. At least a dozen legislative positions will likely be eliminated. Incoming GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said “These reformed committees will restore simplicity and transparency to the committee process while offering potential for budget savings and clarity for citizens.” Republicans say the savings looks to be about $800,000 in total. The House goes from 36 to 24 committees and the Senate from 25 to 16.
New DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen reacted “A streamlined committee structure makes sense and both parties have been working on it.” But he added ” My fear is that Republicans will use their new structure to reward the anonymous corporations who helped pay for many of the seats they picked up.” Zellers called it a cheap shot and responded that government oversight could be better in a simplified system.
Tomorrow Republicans will announce the new committee chairs in a sweep around the state with stops in St. Paul, Rochester, Mankato, Alexandria, Glyndon, and Duluth. The current DFL State Government Chair Gene Pelowski said
“Since we assumed the majority in 2006, I have led the effort to streamline the legislative workflow, including the committee process. I am pleased to learn today that the Republicans are adopting our DFL measures in a bipartisan way.”