How to Advocate for Cities During Capitol Construction

Find out where legislators are while the Capitol is closed for construction, as well as what alternative venues are available for meetings, where to park, and more.
(Published Feb 22, 2016)

If you plan on coming to the Capitol during the 2016 session, be aware that the Capitol restoration is well underway, impacting both the outside and inside of the building. These tips and the video below will help you find your way around the Capitol complex during this confusing time.

Capitol construction overview
The Capitol building is closed to the public until renovations are complete in 2017. The newly constructed Minnesota Senate Building (MSB), located north across University Avenue from the Capitol, is open to the public. Public and disability access is at the front entrance on the corner of Park Street and University Avenue for those walking from the League building (.1 miles). Meter parking is available directly behind the MSB on Sherburne Avenue and Lot Q.

The offices of Senate Democrats are located in this new building. Senate Republican offices will remain in the State Office Building for this session. Senate floor sessions will be held at the new Minnesota Senate Building. The House floor sessions will be held at the State Capitol. Due to construction, there will be no public access to the rotunda and very limited access to watch sessions in person. (Public access passes will be distributed on a first-come basis in Room 10 of the State Office Building 30 minutes prior to a floor session's scheduled start time. The number of available public access passes will be determined each legislative session day by the House of Representatives. The passes will only be valid for the legislative day that they are issued. Learn how to obtain a pass for the House gallery.)

The State Office Building (SOB), where House members have their permanent offices, is not under construction.

Due to construction, the Capitol Press Corps is located in the nearby Centennial Office Building.

The Department of Administration’s Capitol Restoration web page will be updated throughout session.

If you plan to visit your legislator during session, the League encourages you to:

  • Check in with the LMC intergovernmental relations (IGR) staff before heading to the Capitol.
  • Communicate with your legislator’s office via email or phone and consider meeting with legislators on weekends or long breaks when they are likely to be in their home districts.

Information for large groups & city days at the Capitol
Since the Capitol is closed, the League encourages you to contact the alternate venues mentioned in the link below (courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Administration) if you would like an indoor space for your city or region’s day at the Capitol.

Watch this video for some quick tips on visiting the Capitol during construction

video test

General Tips for Contacting Legislators at the Capitol
The following tips will help you find your way around the Capitol.

RSVP with your legislators. Set up an appointment to meet with your legislator ahead of time by calling or emailing them. Contact information for legislators can be found online at:; by calling House Public Information Services at (651) 296-2146 or (800) 657-3550; or by calling the Senate Information Office at (651) 296-0504 or (888) 234-1112. If you are having trouble setting up an appointment with your legislator, contact LMC staff member Heather Corcoran at (651) 281-1256 or, or Laura Ziegler at (651) 281-1267 or (See contact info at right.)

Where can I park? City officials can park for free at the League of Minnesota Cities parking lot on the corner of University Avenue and Rice Street (always sign in at the LMC receptionist desk). Several other public parking lots and street parking near the Capitol complex charge hourly rates.

What’s on the schedule today? House committee meetings are posted in Room 175 of the State Office Building and on bulletin boards on the first floor near the elevators. Senate committee meetings will be available at the Senate information desk in the Minnesota Senate Building. Please note: schedules for both bodies are subject to change daily. Checking online is the best bet.

How do I get a copy of the Green Book or the Red Book? The Green Book includes biographies, room and phone numbers, committee assignments, and more. The Red Book, the Official Directory of the Minnesota Legislature, contains member and committee information, as well as House and Senate rules, joint rules, statutory and constitutional provisions relating to the Legislature, and staff information. For copies, contact House Public Information Services at (651) 296-2146 or (800) 657-3550 or the Senate Information Office at (651) 296-0504 or (888) 234-1112. Or you can stop by the League’s lobby to pick up a copy. All information in the green or red books can also be found on the Legislature's website.

Where do I get copies of bills? Bill language, summaries, and more are available on the State Legislature website at You can also contact League staff for printed copies and assistance finding the information you need.

Where are all the legislators? Legislators can be found in their offices, in committee, or in the House or Senate chambers. All House members have permanent offices in the State Office Building, and Senate Republicans have offices there, too. DFL senators have offices in the new Minnesota Senate Building. House committees will meet in the State Office Building, while Senate committees will typically meet in the new Minnesota Senate Building.

Can I bother my legislators if they are in a floor session or a committee hearing? Yes, sort of. The first step is to call ahead of time and schedule a meeting. If your legislator is in a committee meeting or floor session at the only time you are available, ask his or her staffer if the legislator can be briefly interrupted. At floor sessions, you can ask House or Senate staffers outside the floor chamber doors (outside Room 10 in the State Office Building for House sessions or outside room 1150 in the Minnesota Senate Building) to pass a note to your legislator stating that you are there and asking if he or she can break away for a minute or two. Be brief. An intern or page will deliver your note, and your legislator will step outside to visit if he or she is able. At committee hearings, you can ask committee staffers (usually wearing a green staff name badge) to pass a note to your legislator stating that you are there and asking if the legislator can break away for a minute or two.

Meals, snacks, and beverages. Fresh Season Cafe/cafeterias are located in several Capitol complex buildings, including the lower level of the Department of Transportation building, and are typically open for breakfast, lunch, and snack purchases. Other neighborhood restaurants near the Capitol offer a variety of food options.

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