The mandate to draft, review, and approve bills and related legislative documents for the legislature is the office's chief responsibility during the legislative session. That mandate has many component duties: the work of drafting itself, the management of drafting loads, the maintenance of a bill tracking system, the systems and software that support bill production, the training and documentation associated with those systems, the work of data entry, and the work of supervision and quality control. As required by statute, the office drafts bills on request for any member of the House or the Senate, for the governor and other constitutional officers, and for state agencies. Bill drafting services are nonpartisan and confidential. All drafting is done by lawyers, and the attorney-client privilege, as well as broad statutory confidentiality protection, attaches. A peer review procedure has been developed as part of the comprehensive quality control system for bill drafting.
The revisor's office has a statutory mandate to draft bills for the governor, departments or agencies of the state, and special legislative commissions as well as for the members of the legislature. Much of the bill drafting for departments and agencies is done prior to the start of each session of the legislature. Our office cooperates with Minnesota Planning and the governor's office in the preparation, approval, and jacketing of agency bills, and with House and Senate majority or minority leadership to see that these bills are delivered to the legislature in a timely manner.
Amendments are prepared at the request of members, the governor and other constitutional officers, and state agencies for Senate and House committees and floor sessions. In addition, two lawyers from the office are available on the House floor during house floor sessions to draft amendments and provide related legal advice. Support staff for preparing the amendments on the House floor is also provided by the revisor's office.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.03, subdivision 2
Memorial resolutions are drafted for the same reasons as are bills: to accomplish public goals. A memorial resolution contains a statement of facts referred for action by a governmental official, agency, or body. Concurrent resolutions are drafted to do the internal business of the legislature, such as establishing budget limits; some simple resolutions also do internal business. Most resolutions, called congratulatory resolutions, are drafted to help individual legislators maintain good constituent relations. Resolutions are often presented at public functions by members or their designees. Resolutions are prepared and delivered directly to the requesting member who in turn obtains the proper signatures. In addition to formal resolutions, the office prepares text that can be used by the governor's office in drafting proclamations if that is the form of congratulation the requester prefers.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 4
Revisor's bills are routinely researched, proposed, and drafted by the office and introduced for consideration by members who sit on the house and senate committees with jurisdiction over civil law matters. Revisor's office staff attend committee hearings on these bills and testify as requested by the members. There are three principal types of revisor's bills: a bill to correct technical errors in the statutes, a bill to correct errors in a given session's bills, and bills to improve the style and form of statutory chapters. The session corrections bill is customarily one of the final bills passed during a session. Because of end of session time constraints, an abbreviated procedure is used for these end of session correction bills. We work with legislative leadership to develop effective procedures for them.
Source of mandate: House Rule 5.01, Joint Rule 2.01, and custom and usage of the legislature
The revisor's office examines each bill and endorses approval of its form and its compliance with joint and House rules and the provisions of the Minnesota Constitution relating to bills, for example, the single subject and enacting clause requirements. Technically, this requirement of approval applies to bills prepared for introduction in the House of Representatives. In practice, it applies to all bills, since bills drafted for a senate member have both House and Senate copies. Form checks and approvals are a standard part of the quality control component of the bill drafting process.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6 (requested by the Speaker and Chief Clerk of the House)
The office drafts and approves all committee reports from standing committees of the House. Staff work closely with house committee staff and members to make sure the reports are technically accurate and legally sufficient. We also draft subcommittee or division reports for the House. These reports are prepared at the request of a committee secretary or the chief committee clerk.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6; custom and usage of the legislature
The office drafts and approves all conference committee reports of the house and senate. Staff works closely with members and conference committee staff to make sure the reports are technically accurate and legally sufficient. These reports are usually prepared under severe time constraints during the last few days of session.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6; custom and usage of the legislature (requested by members, Secretary of the Senate, and Chief Clerk of the House)
We prepare two types of comparison reports for the legislature: conference committee comparison reports and House and Senate desk comparison reports.
The office prepares special side-by-side comparisons requested by committees for House and Senate bills under conference committee consideration. These documents show the differences in the text of the bills being considered.
The office prepares comparison reports for the House and Senate desks. The reports are used to determine differences in companion bills. We prepare a short form for the Senate that reports only that the bills are identical or not identical. For the House, we prepare a detailed report showing the differences in language in each companion bill.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 5, and Joint Rule 2.07
The office engrosses and enrolls all bills under the supervision of the chief clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.
When bills are amended in committee or on the floor, the office merges the amendments into the bill text and carries out instructions to correct internal references or amend the title to produce engrossments, which help readers understand the effect of the amendments. The office also prepares "unofficial" engrossments of amendments adopted by one house to a bill that originates in the other house, "unofficial" engrossments of amendments that are being considered in committees, and other similar working documents.
If amendments cannot be engrossed, the reviewing attorney will suggest journal corrections for minor technical matters, or will work with interested members and staff to correct substantive problems that are found.
After a bill has passed both houses in the same form, either as introduced or as finally engrossed, the bill is ready to be enrolled and presented to the Governor. Each enrollment is checked for technical accuracy and legal sufficiency.
Signatures of the presiding and chief administrative officers of each house and the Revisor are obtained and the bill is formally presented to the governor on behalf of the legislature. This work is done under time constraints imposed by the Minnesota Constitution.