- How Do I?
- Online Resources
Step 1: Determine the Bill's Year and House and Senate File Numbers
Step 2: Determine Which Committee Heard the Bill
Step 3: Locate the Committee Minutes for the Committee
Step 4: Find the Audio-Taped Discussions of the Bill
Step 5: Consult Other Sources of Information About This Bill
The House Journal and the Senate Journal are the sources for determining which committee heard the bill. Check in the House Journal or Senate Journal index under the file (bill) number for your statute. The index will guide you to:
The index for companion bills will provide the bill number for the House or Senate action, as appropriate.
The committee minutes may include:
All of these may help. If no minutes are given, the date your bill was heard in the committee is vital. With that information, you can locate the audio cassette tape of the committee's proceedings.
Key to legislative history research in the State Archives collections at the Library are the committee minutes for House and Senate standing committees. Not all minutes for these committees have survived.
The House committee books begin in 1919 and the Senate committee books in 1911. However, the records of both House and Senate judiciary committees begin in 1883. There is also a scattering of House and Senate minutes for the years pre-1919 and pre-1911, respectively.
To Locate Committee Minutes for Your Bill:
What are the Tapes?
Whereas the minutes contain only highlights of the proceedings concerning a bill, the tape recordings are a direct record of the committee's discussions. Note, however, that the quality of the tapes is often poor, and not all the sessions were recorded.
Which Tapes are at the History Center?
The current schedule for legislative tapes mandates retention for a period of eighteen years. Three institutions share custody: the creator, the Legislative Reference Library and the Minnesota Historical Society. Tapes for the current biennium are held by either the House or the Senate. At the end of each biennium, all tapes are transferred to the Legislative Reference Library, where they are held for eight years. At the end of that period, all tapes are transferred to the History Center, where they are held only for a further eight years. Tapes are not retained longer than a total of eighteen years from the date of creation.
How Do I Determine Which Tape to Request?
To locate the audio-tape of the committee session discussion the bill you are researching, it is essential to determine the date the bill was heard in committee. The committee minutes provide that date. With the date, use the Legislature inventory notebook for House tapes or Senate tapes, as appropriate. These are arranged first by year, then by committee.
Please provide on the call slip the committee or subcommittee name, the date of the tape and the box number.
Can I Get a Duplicate of the Tape?
Copies of legislative tapes held by the Society may be ordered through Copy Services located in the Library. Ask the copy center staff for information on the charges for this service.
For 1975-1984, the "Bill Summaries of the House Research Department" summarize main provisions of bills and compare House bills with companion Senate bills. Check in the State Archives inventory notebooks under the heading "Legislature, House" for further information.
Other possible avenues of legislative history research include: