Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, released a sweeping plan aimed at shining a light on the workings of the Legislature, whose leaders have faced criticism for doing much of the state's important business behind closed doors.

Thissen would also tighten rules about when retired legislators can become lobbyists and make the Legislature subject to the state's public records law. 

"Minnesotans I've heard from are frustrated by a lack of transparency and sense that special interests are pulling strings behind the scenes," Thissen said in a statement. 

Although Thissen did not specifically mention names, his comments are a subtle rebuke of the DFL-controlled Senate, which passed key legislation last year along with the GOP-controlled House after backdoor negotiations and rushed, last-minute floor sessions. 

Thissen would adopt a number of rules that govern the House that would limit some of the last minute chaos and opacity that are a staple of legislative sessions both recent and less recent, including during the 2013-14 session, during which Thissen was Speaker of the House.  

He would also require a one year "cooling off" period, banning former legislators, judges as well as cabinet members from becoming lobbyists for the legislative session immediately following their departure from public service.

The proposal would also eventually make the Legislature subject to the Data Practices Act, which is Minnesota's public records law and from which the Legislature is mostly exempt. 

Finally, House members would have to publish all information related to per diem, mileage, housing stipend, committee budgets, etc. on a rolling monthly basis. 

Legislative minorities often demand reforms to make the parliamentary process more transparent, demands that usually evaporate if and when they win majority status. 

Older Post

Minneapolis Sen. Hayden draws DFL challenger

Newer Post

Special legislative session looks unlikely in Minn.