Message regarding the legislative session

Dear GMPT members,

As the state continues to work on its response to rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19, we want to provide you with an update on what it means for the Minnesota legislative session.

The four legislative leaders held a joint press conference yesterday to shed some light on how the restrictions and guidelines related to curbing the spread of COVID-19 impact the Legislature and session operations. While that there are still some logistical issues being worked out, here is what we currently know:

  • The Legislature plans to scale back its operations and proceed on an “on-call basis” from now until April 14. This means that the Legislature and legislative committees will not meet unless pressing matters arise that demand immediate attention.
  • Access to the State Capitol, State Office Building and Senate Building is being limited. The public is not allowed inside any of the buildings except by appointment, and many staff members will be working from home.
  • Constituents are encouraged to be in contact with their legislators via phone and email. To find your legislators’ contact information, visit Who Represents Me?
  • If any legislative hearings or floor sessions are held, the audience will be limited to just a few members of the public and media; it is unclear how they will determine who is allowed in the hearing.
  • To the extent that the Legislature will pass any legislation between now and the 2020 session deadline of May 18 (as determined by the State Constitution), the legislative leaders said that they will focus on bills that pertain to the state’s response to COVID-19, “mission critical” items such as the bonding bill, and other legislation upon which there is broad agreement between the House and Senate.

As you know, the GMPT’s top legislative priority heading into the session was obtaining bonding money for the DNR’s local parks and trails grant programs. At this point, we do not know what shape the bonding bill will take, only that the legislative leaders are still committed to passing one this session. We will monitor the bonding bill closely as it develops and continue to advocate for our GMPT priorities as appropriate.

If you have any questions about the Legislature or legislative activity this session, please contact GMPT’s lobbyist Elizabeth Wefel at

Stay safe!

Mike Nigbur
Chair, Greater Minnesota Parks & Trails