Number of January Bill Introductions Sets Record

January 23, 2023

Demand for bill drafts is overwhelming the office responsible for preparing bills for introduction and may foreshadow bottlenecks in the legislative process.

The number of bills introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate as of the end of the third week in January 2023 eclipsed the number of bills introduced in January in the state’s history.

The average number of bills introduced in the House at this point in an odd year session since 2007 is 181. To date in 2023, House members have collectively introduced 636 bills. Similarly, the Senate typically introduces an average of 136 bills in the first few weeks of January, but this year the body has seen 490 introductions.

Backlog in processing bill requests

The pace does not appear to be slowing. Word at the Capitol is the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, the office responsible for processing bill requests made by legislators, has a backlog of more than 3,000 requests for jacketed bills.

When contacted, staff at the Revisor’s Office confirmed they are about 10 days ahead of the previous record pace and more than three weeks ahead of the average for the previous five budget years. The office has 13 attorneys and approximately 20 additional support staff (consisting of drafting & editing assistants and legal editors) that are responsible for all the legislative work they do.

Advice to cities

Due to the backlog, many bills, including some initiated by the League, have not yet been introduced and therefore do not have bill numbers. And although committees are meeting on schedule, they cannot process bills they don’t have.

The volume of bills being drafted, combined with the backlog in the Revisor’s Office, suggests there will be bottlenecks in the committee process as the committee deadlines approach.

If your city has a legislative initiative:

  • Make sure the bill jackets have been requested by the author.
  • Be ready to testify on short notice if your bill gets introduced.
  • Be patient; there may be delays in seeing new bills and in securing bill hearings.

If you have questions about a bill you are expecting to see, please reach out to any member of the League’s Intergovernmental Relations team.

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