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A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments book coverAs the state documents depository, the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library’s collection focuses primarily on state issues. However, the library also collects federal-level information that can be useful to legislators and legislative staff.

New this month are a few books that will give you a greater understanding of the U.S. Constitution. A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments delivers a short summary of each article of the Constitution, followed by in-depth chapters about the historical context of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This book also includes a nice timeline highlighting key moments in constitutional history - from 1215 when King John I signed the Magna Carta, to 2021 when Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

Another book that’s new to the Library this month is the six-volume Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Although this book is not brand new (it was published in 2000), it replaces and updates our 1986 edition. This book is arranged in traditional encyclopedic fashion, with articles about topics relevant to the U.S. Constitution. You’ll find topics such as labor and the antitrust laws, DNA testing and genetic privacy, deliberative democracy, and many articles about Supreme Court cases.

You can stop in to the Library on the 6th floor of the State Office Building to take a look at these reference books. As always, please contact us with questions or for research assistance: library@lrl.mn.gov or 651-296-8338.

Cover of the 2023 Fiscal ReviewThe Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis annual publication, Fiscal Review, is one of the most heavily used publications in the Legislative Reference Library. The Library’s paper copies are lovingly worn and the digital archive, reaching back to the first publication in 1975, is an invaluable resource. 

A new issue of Fiscal Review was published last month, and provides detailed coverage the budgetary actions in the 2023 legislative session. This year's issue is much longer than those in years past, for two primary reasons. A bevy of budget bills passed this year, including the 2023-2024 state budget and large new programs like adult-use cannabis and paid parental leave. The other reason for this issue's length is a focus on improving the usability of this invaluable publication. 

Several style changes were made this year, including: a different font type and size, increased line spacing, and a revised table format. Editors reduced the use of acronyms to provide greater clarity for readers, and included a QR code so that someone holding a physical copy can quickly open a PDF version.

To celebrate the recent release of the 2023 edition of Fiscal Review, the office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis and the Legislative Reference Library invite you to the Legislative Reference Library's space on the third floor of the Senate Building (3238 MSB) on Wednesday, November 15th at 1:00pm. Cookies will be served!

Five CALCO-themed cupcakes arranged on a platter.In 1973, Minnesota state government libraries, including the Legislative Reference Library, collaborated to form the Capitol Area Library Consortium (CALCO). Minitex is publishing a brief series on CALCO libraries to celebrate this milestone, and the Legislative Reference Library was honored to be the first library profiled!

For the past 50 years, CALCO libraries have benefited from partnership with other like-minded libraries, have readily shared ideas, and have brainstormed solutions to unique problems faced in special libraries. Earlier this year, Governor Walz recognized this group of libraries with a proclamation.

In September, CALCO marked its 50th anniversary with an open house gathering of current and former state government library staff. We shared memories, recounted stories, played CALCO trivia, and enjoyed CALCO-themed cupcakes! 

 

House and Senate journals on a shelf in the libraryBeyond collecting and adding new materials to our collection each month (like this month's new reports from the Met Council, the Department of Agriculture, and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission), the Library also regularly adds new subscription services, especially ones that serve the specialized research needs of legislative staff. These include products like Westlaw for legal research and the Bloomberg BNA Tax Library for tax and fiscal analysts, both of which we have had for a number of years. 

Last month we added a new subscription service, previously only available to Library staff. Our LLMC Digital Subscription is now available to anyone working on the Legislative campus, or connected to VPN when working from home. This resource provides access to House Journals and Senate Journals from territorial times through 1990. This means you can search across journal years for unique floor occurrences - like a "protest and dissent" - or search a specific volume for legislation using a keyword - especially handy if you don't know the bill number. House Journals are available on the Legislature's website from 1994 to the present, and Senate journals are available from 1995 to the present, which means almost all journals are now accessible online.

Summer is also a time for bigger projects in the Library. So in addition to providing access to this subscription resource, we are also working to digitize House and Senate journals from 1973 to 1994. This will allow us to incorporate digital versions of the journal into legislative webpages directly, ensuring access to these vital records into the future.

As always, please contact us with questions, for research assistance, or to borrow any of the materials on this month's list: library@lrl.mn.gov or 651-296-8338.

About 90 high school juniors from across Minnesota participated in the House of Representative's High School Page Program during the course of the 2023 legislative session. This highly regarded program was established in 1975. After a few years' hiatus during the pandemic, we were glad to see these students at the Capitol again!

Each week, the students' schedule is packed, ensuring they learn about every aspect of the legislative process. Students meet with legislators and other government officials, serve as pages on the House floor, conduct research in the Library, and hold a mock committee hearing.

Tom Holien, who has coordinated the program for the past few years, works tirelessly each week to create an enriching and informative experience for each group of pages who participate!  

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