Minnesota Report

We have heard people broaching questions about the allowable activity on the last day of the legislative session. This starts from a question of two correlated constitutional sections, listed below. What is at issue is can the legislature pass any legislation on the last day of the legislative session if, they have not reached the Constitutional Deadline on the first Monday after the third Saturday of May. The question being asked is can any legislation pass after the 120 legislative days are exhausted?

We believe the answer is no, with a big But. The but is they can pass legislation during a legislative day, which doesn’t end until 7:59 am on the following day. Now, in the old days, there was a maneuver of covering the clock, which was not a regular practice, but by shrouding the legislative clock in the chamber, the legislature could continue it business.

In order for the legislature to operate past 120 legislative days or after May 29th the governor would need to call a Special Session. Now, we have seen short one day sessions called to finish the work, but this is usually a set agreement and they come in adjourn Sine Die and then reconvene once the Special Session proclamation in communicated.

Article IV Sec. 12. Biennial meetings; length of session; special sessions; length of adjournments.

The legislature shall meet at the seat of government in regular session in each biennium at the times prescribed by law for not exceeding a total of 120 legislative days. The legislature shall not meet in regular session, nor in any adjournment thereof, after the first Monday following the third Saturday in May of any year. After meeting at a time prescribed by law, the legislature may adjourn to another time. “Legislative day” shall be defined by law. A special session of the legislature may be called by the governor on extraordinary occasions.

Neither house during a session of the legislature shall adjourn for more than three days (Sundays excepted) nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be assembled without the consent of the other house.

Article IV Sec. 21. Passage of bills on last day of session prohibited.

No bill shall be passed by either house upon the day prescribed for adjournment. This section shall not preclude the enrollment of a bill or its transmittal from one house to the other or to the executive for his signature.