Lawmakers are considering a legislative downsize

KIMT News 3 – It’s a busy time of year for lawmakers as they try to wrap up budget discussions and finalize bills on the table, but there is one bill being discussed that could potentially put some state leaders out of a job.

Rep. Bob Barrett, (R) Lindstrom, Minn. and Sen Dave Osmek, (R) Mound, Minn., have been spear-heading a campaign for a bill that could essentially cut the size of Minnesota’s legislature in half.

Minnesota has the fifth largest legislature in the country sitting at 210 representatives and senators.

The idea to downsize came about after the census in 2010 as the state went through a redistricting period and lawmakers started to wonder if they really needed that many state leaders.

State Sen. Carla Nelson, (R) Rochester, says there is still a lot of research to be done on the bill, but overall, she believes it’s something that could eventually happen.

“I have been a house member and I’m also a Senator now in a body of 67 and I can tell you, I think you have more ability to debate issues in a smaller body,” Nelson says, “I think the 67 is a much more doable body than 135.”

Having legislation on the table doesn’t necessarily mean that any changes will be made in the near future.

Nelson says that in order for the downsizing to happen, they have to wait until the next census, which won’t be until 2020.

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