When the Minnesota State legislature convenes in January 2017, there will be plenty of new faces in the Capitol. The election earlier this month has brought much change in both chambers of the legislature.
During the recent election, Republicans picked up six seats held by Democrats, while Democrats picked up two seats held by Republicans. Prior to the election, Republicans held a 73-61 majority and will now hold 76 seats with Democrats controlling 57 seats. One seat, House District 32B, currently held by a Republican, will not be decided until a special election in February.
Coming into the election, Senate Democrats held 38 seats while Republicans held 28 (with one seat vacant due to the death of former Senate President Jim Metzen). Following the election, Republicans will hold 34 seats and Democrats 33 seats. This will mean that Republicans are poised (pending one election recount) to take control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins.
Since the election, each caucus in the legislature has elected their leadership. In the Senate, Sen. Paul Gazelka has been chosen to lead the Republicans as Majority Leader and Sen. Tom Bakk has been elected to lead Democrats as Minority Leader.
In the House, Republicans have elected Rep. Kurt Daudt as Majority Leader and Democrats have elected Rep. Melissa Hortman as Minority Leader.
Over the next few weeks, both House and Senate leadership will begin to create their committee structure and appoint chairs for each committee.