If you may be planning to visit the State Capitol during the upcoming short legislative session, there are several key dates to keep in mind.
Current rules dictate that a House bill must be introduced and acted upon by a House committee by March 21st of this year in order for it to be considered. Then, it must be acted upon by March 28th in the corresponding Senate committee in order to continue moving forward.
The third deadline, April 4th, is for the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.
Winona Representative Gene Pelowski says these kinds of rules exist to ensure the legislative process is more accessible to members of the public.
Pelowski says without these deadlines, bills could be introduced and agreed to almost exclusively through closed door meetings with no transparency.
For years lawmakers have worked to be on the forefront of rule reform and public access, because no bill should be passed based solely on a closed door meeting between lawmakers.