Before leaving the Capitol for the year, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, bemoaned what he called the “biggest do-nothing legislative session in our state’s history.”
“We’re going to use 250 calendar days,” Bakk said. “That, members, is the second longest calendar days since statehood. We’re going to pass, assuming this bill gets signed and the Revisor’s bill gets signed, about 245 bills. Members, that’s the fewest number of bills that has been signed into law since 1869.”
Bakk’s claim is basically correct.
The Legislative Reference Library keeps track of each two-year session’s basics – how long they lasted, how many bills were introduced, and how many bills became law, among other statistics.
Excluding last year’s special session to approve budget bills, the current session actually lasted 248 calendar days, so Bakk is two days off.
Nevertheless, this part of Bakk’s claim is still on point: this session was the second longest in terms of calendar days since statehood. Legislators used 251 calendar days to get through the 2001-2002 legislative session, according to the library’s data.
If you include special session days, which Bakk didn’t take into account for his comparison, this session was the fourth longest – still one of the most protracted in state history.
Bakk is also correct that 245 bills became law this session. That’s the fewest since 1869, when the same number of new laws were put on the books.
Whether lawmakers got anything accomplished this session is a matter of opinion. But Bakk’s numbers are correct.
The PoliGraph rates this claim accurate.
Facts About the 87th Legislature, complied by Senate DFL research
Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, Sessions of the Minnesota State Legislature and the Minnesota Territorial Legislature, 1849-present, accessed May 16, 2012
Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, Number of Bills Introduced and Laws Passed in the Minnesota Legislature, 1849-present, May 16, 2012
Minnesota Session Laws – 2012, Regular Session, accessed May 16, 2012