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Legislative History Research: Step 3: Minutes

A guide for researching the history of the Minnesota State Legislature.

What are Committee Minutes?

Committee minutes--also called "Committee Books"--are the official records of the House and Senate committees.  Not all historical minutes have survived.

The records of both House and Senate judiciary committees begin in 1883, but most House committee books begin in 1919 and most Senate committee books begin in 1911.

The detail in committee minutes varies, but they may include:

  • List of the bills that were heard each day in committee
  • Action taken on bills heard, such as passage, tabling, or referral to a subcommittee
  • Name of the subcommittee(s) to which a bill was referred
  • Names of attending members
  • Names of people testifying before the committee
  • Paperwork related to the bill (amendments, vote tallies, research or informational documents, etc.)
  • Testimony

Where are Committee Minutes located?

  • 1998 and earlier: Minnesota Historical Society
  • 1999 to present: Minnesota Legislative Reference Library



Committee Minutes at MNHS

Check the State Archives finding aids/inventories for the House and Senate Committee Books.  With the exception of early Judiciary Committee Books, they can be searched online:

Hard-copies of these inventories can be searched in the reading room notebooks, filed under "Legislature: House, Committee Books" or "Legislature: Senate, Committee Books."  

Hardcopies of the inventories for the pre-1955 House and pre-1957 Senate Judiciary Committee Books are filed under "Legislature: House: Judiciary Committee" and "Legislature: Senate: Judiciary Committee."  

The Finding Aids are arranged by year and then alphabetically by committee name. Use these listings to find and request the box(es) for the committee(s) that heard your bill.

Other Minutes at MNHS

There are a variety of minutes not present in the main House and Senate Committee Books sets.  They include older committee books, joint and interim committees, etc. 

  • House Judiciary Committee Books, 1883-1955.
    The House’s master set of minutes of meetings and record of bills acted upon by the Judiciary Committee from 1883 - 1955.
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

  • Senate Judiciary Committee Books, 1877-1957.
    The Senate’s master set of minutes of meetings and record of bills acted upon by the Judiciary Committee from 1877 - 1957.
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
  • Miscellaneous committee and interim committee records, 1956-1987 (bulk 1963-1972).
    Minutes, hearings transcripts, and related materials, including reports, agendas, exhibits, and resolutions, primarily of Senate standing committees and their subcommittees in both regular and interim sessions, and a few joint committees and commissions.
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
  • Records of miscellaneous House and Senate standing committees, 1891-1943.
    Reports, minutes, testimony and exhibits, copies of bills, and some correspondence of House and Senate standing committees.
    MNHS call number: See finding aid in the library (filed under Legislature)

  • Minutes of commissions and joint committees, 1951-1972, 1975-1976, 1983-1994.
    Minutes, occasional reports, exhibits, and other miscellany from House and Senate commissions and joint committees
    MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Minutes Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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