The legislative committee structure will be more streamlined in the 2011-2012 biennium.
House and Senate Republican leaders announced that the number of committees will be decreased when legislators convene Jan. 4.
Among the changes will be better alignment of House and Senate committees and fewer committees and subcommittees. The House will have 24 committees and divisions, a 33 percent drop from last biennium. Committee and division chairs are expected to be named Wednesday. A committee grid and member assignments are expected in mid-December. The Senate is going from 25 to 16 committees.
This past biennium, when DFLers were in control, there were more than 60 committees, subcommittees, divisions and subdivisions between the House and Senate. The change is expected to save the Legislature at least $500,000, Zellers said..
We are reforming government starting with ourselves, said Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove), who is expected to be elected House speaker.
Among the changes are the combining of the policy and finance committees in the House, veterans affairs and legacy funding will become divisions of the state government finance committee, and the House Finance Committee and the finance divisions are eliminated. All finance bills will be referred directly to the proper finance committee upon introduction.
“The process will be cleaner, smoother and more transparent,” said Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), who was elected House majority leader nine days ago.
Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls), the new leader of the House DFL caucus, said in a statement that “a streamlined committee structure makes sense and both parties have been working on it.”
However, he is fearful the new structure will not be best for all Minnesotans. “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 on November 2. My hope is that they use the new structure to make sure our streets remain safe, our kids get the attention they need to succeed in school, good-paying jobs are created and that we protect vulnerable seniors and the disabled.”
The 2011-12 House committee structure is as follows:
- Ways and Means Committee
- Taxes Committee > Property and Local Tax Division
- Education Finance Committee
- Education Reform Committee
- Health and Human Services Finance Committee
- Health and Human Services Reform Committee
- Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance Committee
- Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee
- Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee
- Capital Investment Committee
- Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee
- Civil Law Committee
- Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee
- Transportation Policy and Finance Committee
- State Government Finance Committee > Veterans Services Division > Legacy Funding Division
- Government Operations and Elections Committee
- Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee
- Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee
- Rules and Legislative Administration