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The number of committees will go from 36 to 24 in the House. In the Senate, 25 committees will be reduced to 16.

GOP revamps House, Senate committees

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch with House Speaker Kurt Zellers

On Tuesday incoming Republican legislative leaders released an overhauled list of committees ahead of next year’s session. The number of committees will go from 36 to 24 in the House. In the Senate, 25 committees will be reduced to 16.

“This is what voters expected and demanded on Election Day: real reform, starting with ourselves,” Speaker of the House designate Kurt Zellers said at a Capitol news conference. “We promised a smaller and leaner government, and we’re delivering.”

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen released a statement prior to the Republicans’ announcement saying his fear was “that Republicans will use their new structure to reward the anonymous corporations who helped pay for many of the seats they picked up on Nov. 2.”

“A streamlined committee structure makes sense and both parties have been working on it. The real question is ‘To what end?'” he said. “The real test of the Republicans will be how they use their committees.”

Republican leaders dismissed that criticism, saying they preferred to leave politicking to the campaign trail.

Perhaps the most significant change will be the combination of many finance and policy divisions into one committee, particularly at the Senate level where the Health and Human Services and Education policy and budget divisions will become two committees instead of four. In the House, both HHS and Education will still have separate budget and policy divisions.

The Republicans leaders estimated the committee overhaul would save as much as $800,000, but said it was unclear how many staff positions would be eliminated. Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch estimated four or five positions could be eliminated in the upper chamber. Zellers said there’s likely to be a “significant reduction” at the staff level in the House.

The new Senate committees will be:

  • Capital Investment
  • Finance
  • Taxes
  • Rules
  • Agriculture Budget and Policy
  • Commerce and Consumer Protection Budget and Policy
  • Education Budget and Policy
  • Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Budget and Policy
  • Environment and Natural Resources Budget and Policy
  • Health and Human Services Budget and Policy
  • Higher Education Budget and Policy
  • Jobs and Economic Growth Budget and Policy
  • Local Government and Elections
  • Judiciary and Public Safety Budget and Policy
  • State Government Innovation and Veterans Budget and Policy
  • Transportation Budget and Policy
In the House, the committees will be:
  • Ways and Means
  • Taxes
  • Education Finance
  • Education Reform
  • Health and Human Services Finance
  • Health and Human Services Reform
  • Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance
  • Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance
  • Commerce and Regulatory Reform
  • Capital Investment Committee
  • Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance
  • Civil Law
  • Judiciary Policy and Finance
  • Transportation Policy and Finance
  • State Government Finance
  • Government Operations and Elections
  • Higher Education Policy and Finance
  • Jobs and Economic Development Finance
  • Rules and Legislative Administration
  • Ethics
  • Redistricting

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