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Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Health exchange debate makes record books

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: March 18, 2013 - 4:34 PM

While the Monday's Senate debate on final passage of the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange was fairly quick --  shy of two and a half hours -- senators have proved they know how to talk exchange.

It took lawmakers 11 hours and 49 minutes hours to pass the measure, which would set up a new health insurance marketplace, off the Senate floor earlier this month. After that debate, House and Senate experts spent many hours to meld their two different bills before sending it back to the floor for final votes that sent it to the governor's desk.

Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, at the start of what would be a record-setting debate on the health exchange bill he sponsored//Glen Stubbe

Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, at the start of what would be a record-setting debate on the health exchange bill he sponsored//Glen Stubbe

 

Scott Magnuson, director of the Senate Information office, echoed what many long timers said: the epic, nearly 12 hour, Senate debate on March 7 was the longest on a single bill in recent memory.

The only recent senate bill that comes close -- last year's Vikings stadium bill. Senators took over 10 hours and 55 minutes  to talk that bill to passage off the floor, according to records.

According fine research combined by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, with help House Chief Clerk's office and the Senate Information office, House members have records of more loquaciousness.

Back in 2008, the House debated an omnibus finance bill, which bundled budget issues together in one measure, for 14 hours and 20 minutes.  Records also show that back in 2000, the House debated a health and human services bill for about 12 hours.

More numerology for the health exchange bill?

Nine Senate committees held hearings on the bill, meaning that only one Senator did not hear the bill in committee (DFL Sen. Susan Kent was the odd one out), there were 38 amendments in Senate committees, 57 different people gave testimony at least once and the senate spent 26 hours in committee talking about the measure.

 

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