A new rule for lawmaking

A new policy on amendment deadlines passed in the Minnesota House.

Daily Editorial Board

In the wee morning hours of Tuesday, the Minnesota House passed a bill requiring amendments to be posted 24 hours in advance to debate.

This is a small but conceptually important step to more transparent political practices. With more time to become familiar with bill amendments, lawmakers can come to discussions with advance notice and advanced knowledge. Also, this could allow for less highly partisan amendments or pork updates in the state bills.

 This legislation won’t solve all of the problems in the political system, though. While amendments to bills are short and not particularly complicated, the bills they amend often are. This may limit political action for quick and necessary updates to bills, but overall this will make lawmakers plan through potential amendments.

Lawmakers should also be reading and researching the bills they vote on, even with this new update to the rules that govern the
Legislature.

For the first lengthy floor session of the year for the Minnesota House, this is an important discussion to have. This rule isn’t new. It has been floating around committees as an important but unofficial policy. Now it would openly apply to all issues brought up on the Minnesota House floor.

This updated legislation calls for clearer deadlines and unrushed amendments. The public will have more time to be a part of the committee process, which can be very quick and untimely. A full 24 hours allows for concerned citizens to have even more time to be knowledgeable about Minnesota House debates and have their voices heard. Conceptually, this legislation is an important step for a more efficient and fundamentally transparent state
government.