Senate Republicans Release Committee Structure and Chairs

New structure aims to safely resume committee hearings with public input, focus on balancing the budget in light of covid effects to the economy, and create new committees to focus on unique state government issues.

(ST. PAUL, MN) –Senate Republicans released committee chairs and structure for the 2021-2022 session today. The new committee structure reflects several changes for meeting in light of the covid pandemic and the formation of the new Senate Independent Caucus.

“We worked with our current members and the Independent Caucus to determine how committees could best serve people both in light of the challenges of meeting during a pandemic, and to really focus on where the government can improve peoples’ lives and where government overreach can limit entrepreneurship or hampers trust in government,” said Senator Michelle Benson (R- Ham Lake), who led the committee organization process. “Chairs and Committees will have to focus on a limited agenda to make sure we can adequately involve the public, thoroughly assess priority issues, and do so while meeting in a safe manner.”

The priority for the session will be balancing the budget in light of an economy recovering from covid. The Senate Finance Committee is the only committee with hearing time available three days a week, all others are limited to one or two hearings a week, or as needed. Less meeting time will help focus the agendas and ensure public participation can be done safely. There are more committees, 29 in total, from 2020, but with fewer members to accommodate for social distancing. The new committee areas are focused on: data practices and civil law, property taxes, mining and forestry, labor and industry, health and human services licensing, metropolitan governance, and redistricting.

Independent Caucus members Senators Tom Bakk (Cook) and David Tomassoni (Chisholm) will chair the Capital Investment and Higher Education Committees respectively under the Republican Majority. “With the formation of the Independent Caucus, we saw an opportunity to bring Senators Bakk and Tomasonni to the table on these key issues,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- East Gull Lake). “Their experience in the areas of bonding and higher education will serve the entire state as we recover from covid and develop a workforce that can succeed in a recovering economy.”

A full listing of committees and chairs follows:

Rules: Senator Paul Gazelka

Finance: Senator Julie Rosen

State Government Finance and Policy, and Elections: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer

Health and Human Services Finance and Policy: Senator Michelle Benson

Human Services Reform Finance and Policy: Senator Jim Abeler

Jobs Finance and Policy: Senator Eric Pratt

Commerce Finance and Policy: Senator Gary Dahms

Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy, Criminal Law: Senator Warren Limmer

Environment and Natural Resources Finance: Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen

Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance: Senator Carrie Ruud

Transportation Finance and Policy: Senator Scott Newman

Agriculture Finance and Policy: Senator Torrey Westrom

Aging and Long-Term Care Policy: Senator Karin Housley

Energy Finance and Policy: *Senator Dave Senjem

E-12 Finance and Policy: *Senator Roger Chamberlain

Taxes: *Senator Carla Nelson

 **Subcommittee on Property Taxes: Senator Bill Weber

Local Government Policy: *Senator John Jasinski

 ** Subcommittee on Metropolitan Governance Policy: *Senator Dave Osmek

Veterans and Military Affairs: *Senator Andrew Lang

Capital Investment: *Senator Tom Bakk

Higher Education Finance and Policy: *Senator David Tomassoni

**Housing Finance and Policy: Senator Rich Draheim

**Technology and Reform Policy: Senator Mark Koran

**Civil Law and Data Practices Policy: Senator Andrew Mathews

**Labor and Industry Policy: Senator Jason Rarick

**Mining and Forestry Policy: Senator Justin Eichorn

**Human Services Licensing Policy: Senator Paul Utke

**Redistricting: Senator Mark Johnson

*New Chair

**New Committee/subcommittee