State Senate trims committee list, schedule

Tim Pugmire, MPR News, 

The Minnesota Senate will begin the 2015 session without an education policy committee.

Education policy matters will now be dealt with by the education finance committee, also known as the E-12 Division.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, released a new committee schedule today that shows the realignment.

The former chair of the education policy committee will head another panel. Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, will become chair of the State and Local Government committee. Senate President Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, will no longer chair a committee.

Bakk said a shortage of available space inside the state Capitol building, due to ongoing renovations, forced the changes.

“The Senate only has three hearing rooms. We normally operate with five,” Bakk said.

In addition, Bakk said committee hearings that used to run up to two and half hours will now be limited to just 90 minutes. He said that will allow all panels to meet within a “regular work day.”

“We’re going to have very, very rigid time lines,” he said. “Testimony is probably going to be more brief in Senate committees than in the House.”