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New bill would cut Minnesota lawmakers numbers

ST. PAUL - A new bill, introduced Monday after most legislative deadlines passed, would reduce the number of lawmakers serving Minnesotans and, thus, eliminate the need to build a new Senate office building.

Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom, would reduce the number of House members from 134 to 65 and senators from 67 to 32.

“Minnesota has more state senators than any other state in the entire country,” Barrett said. “Building a new $90 million Senate office building because we have too many is foolish."

Minnesota has the fifth largest legislature in the country.

Legislators last year approved spending $63 million on a new Senate building and Gov. Mark Dayton signed it. However, it still needs to be approved by the House rules committee, but its members are hesitant.

“We live in an era where technology allows faster and more efficient communications between legislators and the public than ever before,” Barrett said. “Larger districts will not have an impact on constituent services."

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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