Who are my elected officials?
You are represented in the State Legislature by a Representative and a Senator.
You are represented in the Minnesota Legislature by a State Representative and a State Senator.
Go to the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission 's "Who Represents Me?" page and enter in your full address with zip code. The system will provide you with the information on your current elected officials.
How do I contact my elected officials?
Every Minnesota Legislator is assigned a Legislative Assistant or "LA". Legislative Assistants play a critical role in state government because they help our elected officials manage busy schedules. Legislative Assistants perform constituent service tasks on behalf of legislators. The best way to connect with your State Senator or State Representative is to to request a meeting by making a phone call or sending an email his or her LA.
The names and phones numbers for legislative assistance can be found the member information page for the Representative or Senator that they are assigned to.
A 2011 survey of Congressional staffers found that in-person constituent visits can make the BIGGEST impact in influencing a lawmaker
Written letters and emails are a good way to communicate with your legislators, if you cannot meet with them in person.
Key success strategies for written letters and emails:
- Make your letter neat and easy to read (type or print).
- Identify the issue at the top of the communication and cover only one issue. If you have more than one issue that needs to be addressed, write separate communications for each issue.
- Identify yourself and the reason for your expertise.
- Get right to the point.
For example, you may wish to begin your letter like this: "I hope you will support (oppose) HF or SF___." Give your reasons for supporting or opposing the measure. Tell your legislator why you think the bill, if it becomes law, will help or hurt you, your children, your business, or your community. Explain what it means to you. Think “elevator speech.”
- Use terms they will understand, and avoid using abbreviations.
- Ask for a reply if you want one. (However, keep in mind how many meetings and hearings your legislator must attend. They will call or write to you as soon as they are able. Be patient.)
Write the right legislator at the right time. You want your letter to reach a decision maker right before he or she votes on the issue. Acting on MCC action alerts quickly is critical. This ensures that a communication will reach your legislator’s desk on time.
Do I have to know "lawyer speak" to successfully advocate for legislation?
We are happy to report that the answer is NO! That being said, there are some common terms that get used around the Capitol that you should be familiar with. Here is a glossary following of terms that you will likely see and hear as you shepherd your bill through the legislative process:
adjourn: To conclude a day’s session or committee meeting.
amend: The action of adding, omitting, or altering the language of a bill.
bicameral: A legislature containing two houses.
biennium: 1) The two-year period by which the state budget is set. Money is appropriated for a two-year budget cycle during the odd-numbered years. The fiscal biennium runs from July 1 in an odd-numbered year to June 30 in the next odd-numbered year; or 2) The two-year legislative term, which begins in January of an odd-numbered year and ends in December of an even-numbered year.
bill: A proposal calling for a new law, a change in current law, the repeal of current law, or a constitutional amendment.
caucus: 1) A group of House members of the same political party or faction such as the “DFL Caucus,” the “Republican Caucus,” the “Majority Caucus,” or the “Minority Caucus’’; or 2) A meeting of such a group.
chief author: The main author of a bill.
committee or division: A group of senators or House members that hear bills, make preliminary decisions about them, and report to the legislative body as a whole.
companion bills: Identical bills introduced in the House and Senate.
conference committee: A group of either three or five members from each body that work out a compromise when the House and Senate pass different versions of a bill.
floor: After a bill passes through the committee process, it is sent to the “floor” in either the House or Senate, meaning it is placed on any of the various bill lists while awaiting debate by all members.
hearing: Meeting of a committee or division at which the public has an opportunity to voice its opinions about proposed legislation.
House file or Senate file: The number assigned to a bill before it is introduced. It is listed at the top of the bill. HF 2379 or SF 5143, for example.
introduced (n., introduction): The formal presentation of a bill to a body of the Legislature. The bill gets its first reading at this time and is then referred to a committee or division.
legislature: Name for the entire group of senators and representatives.
lobbyist: A person acting individually or for an interest group who tries to influence legislation.
majority: The party that has the most members elected in either the House or Senate.
minority: The party that has the fewest members elected in either the House or Senate.
omnibus: A term used to describe tax, education, appropriations, and other bills that may contain many different proposals.
page: A person employed by the House or Senate to run errands, assist committees, and perform a variety of other legislative tasks.
President of the Senate: The person who presides over Senate floor action and debate.
sine die: When the Legislature adjourns “without a day,” in the even-numbered years, the second year of the biennium.
Speaker of the House: The person elected by members of the House of Representatives to preside over House floor action and debate.
veto: The constitutional power of the governor to refuse to sign a bill, thus preventing it from becoming law unless it is passed again (with a two-thirds majority) by both houses of the Legislature.
A bill that I support has been scheduled for a committee hearing, what can I do to help?
There are two high impact actions you can take to support the bill at this stage in the legislative process.
- You can testify in support of the bill during the hearing. Legislators love to hear from the people during committee hearings, especially when someone has personal story or expertise about the issue. Public testimony provides real life context to policy proposals and gives legislators a sense of the positive or negative impact that the legislation being considered will have. Public testimony helps legislators craft better policy. The steps and procedures to testify in a legislative hearing can be found in our guide under the Advocate menu button.
- If one of your legislators is a member of the committee that is hearing the bill you can reach out to them and encourage them to vote in favor of the bill. The steps and procedures for how to ask your Senator or Representative to support a bill during a legislative hearing can be found in our guide under the Advocate menu button.
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