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Library News - Books & Reports

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: 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!

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: or 651-296-8338.

Reports from Minnesota Charities and Nonprofits The Library receives a number of reports from and about Minnesota charities and nonprofit organizations. These reports often provide another point of view on state public policy issues than is available through official reports from state agencies and task forces.

This month, the Library added Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Report: Current Conditions and COVID-19 Impact Update 6.0 (October 2022), from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN), an association of more than 2,200 Minnesota nonprofits. This new report is their sixth special report summarizing key impacts on Minnesota’s nonprofit sector and economy. The MCN regularly surveys nonprofits to better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, international movements for racial justice, economic challenges, and other events. Since March 2020, the MCN has conducted six surveys and issued six follow-up reports summarizing key trends, impacts, and outlook. All five previous reports are also available online: May 2020July 2020December 2020May 2021December 2021.

Another valuable resource the Library receives from the MCN is the biennial Minnesota Nonprofit Salary and Benefits Survey. The 2022 edition is now available in both print and online. The report details current salary ranges, including increases and raises; health, dental, and cafeteria plans offered; retirement, disability and life insurance benefits; paid time off including vacation, sick leave and holidays; and more.

From the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, the Library recently added updated editions of Nonprofit Organization Resources (2022) and  A Guide to Minnesota's Charities Laws (2022). Also in this month’s list of new reports is Giving in Minnesota: 2021 Report from the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Providing a comprehensive look at grantmaking done in the 2019 fiscal year, the report features a follow-up survey about current grantmaking practices underway in Minnesota. Reflecting on shifts in grantmaking practices that began in 2020, they write: “The data in this Grantmaking and Practices Survey reveals that philanthropy in Minnesota has not returned to the old “normal” but has continued on a path of change.”

Fiscal Review

By David Schmidtke

The Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis publication, Fiscal Reviewis 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. 

The 2018 Fiscal Review provides detailed coverage of the budgetary actions of this year's legislative session. Of course, the capital investment and the pensions bills are the main focus of this year's fiscal activity, but this year's edition also takes a look at the vetoed Omnibus Supplemental Finance and Omnibus Tax Bills. Two other budget issue are discussed that impacted the 2018 fiscal legislation as well: The Governor’s line-item veto of the FY2018-19 Legislative Appropriation and the creation of the nonpartisan Legislative Budget Office.

To celebrate the recent release of the 2018 edition of Fiscal Review, the office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis invites you to the satellite office of the Legislative Reference Library (3238 MSB) on Wednesday, September 26th at 10:30 am.  Doughnuts will be served!

Discover Ebooks at the LRL

By Elaine Settergren


Have you heard about the free, online Ebook collection created for all Minnesotans? Ebooks Minnesota has over 5,000 books for readers of all ages – fiction and nonfiction, with a special focus on Minnesota’s independent publishers.

It’s easy to start reading. Open Ebooks Minnesota in your computer browser (such as Chrome, Edge, or Firefox). If you prefer to read on your phone or tablet, download the Biblioboard app in Google Play or the BiblioBoard app in the App Store. You’ll automatically see the option to be connected to the Ebooks Minnesota collection if you are anywhere in Minnesota. Titles that may catch your eye include:

  • North Country: The Making of Minnesota
  • A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across Time
  • Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
  • Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland
  • Minnesota’s Miracle: Learning from the Government that Worked
  • Crossing the Barriers: The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear
  • The Art of War: The Oldest Military Treatise in the World
  • Land of Amber Waves: The History of Brewing in Minnesota
  • A History of Professional Hockey in Minnesota: From the North Stars to the Wild
  • Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel and the Forging of a Company Town
  • The City, the River, the Bridge: Before and After the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
  • Hinckley and the Fire of 1894
  • Minnesota Mayhem: A History of Calamitous Events, Horrific Accidents, Dastardly Crime & Dreadful Behavior in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes

Ebooks Minnesota is brought to you by Minitex and made possible in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Education through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Senate’s annual 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.

The 2017 Fiscal Review is the 40th edition, but you can’t quite call this an annual publication. It wasn't published in 2004 for reasons that are a mystery.  And anyone who can recall the state's financial situation in the early 1980s will understand why there was just one published for the years 1981-1984 with a revision published the next year.  Extreme budget shortfalls required two regular sessions and six special sessions in one biennium to resolve.  Librarians always start with the 1981-1984 edition when asked questions about this complex period of budget crisis.

To celebrate the recent release of the 2017 edition of Fiscal Review, the office of Senate Counsel, Research and Fiscal Analysis invites you to the satellite office of the Legislative Reference Library (3238 MSB) on Wednesday, September 27th at 10:30 am.  Doughnuts will be served!

Minnesota is usually well represented in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Notable Document Awards each year; this year is no exception with four award winners from Minnesota. 

The awards are sponsored by NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians staff section.  "The award recognizes excellence in documents that explore topics of interest to legislators and staff, and present substantive material in an outstanding format."   The Minnesota award winners are:

Flame Retardants and Firefighter Exposure and Health.  Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Surveillance and Assessment Section, 2016. 

A 2015 Minnesota law required the Minnesota Department of Health, in consultation with the State Fire Marshall, to prepare a report about flame-retardant chemicals and the health and safety effects of exposures, particularly in firefighting settings. With a review of state, federal, and international regulations, a summary of exposure and health findings, and a comprehensive literature review, this document presents a wealth of information on this issue, an issue that has not been studied elsewhere.

Minnesota State Capitol: Overview of the Fine Art.  Minnesota Historical Society, 2015.

Each piece of artwork featured in this guide is accompanied by a color photograph, a note about its location in the Capitol, the date installed, a brief description of the piece, and a biographical note on the author. 

United States Constitutional Amendment Process: Legal Principles for State Legislatures.  (By Matt Gehring)  Minnesota House Research Department, 2016.

This report serves as a "reference guide for finding and understanding applicable law related to amending the U.S. Constitution."  

United States Constitutional Amendments: Minnesota's Legislative History. (By Matt Gehring)  Minnesota House Research Department, 2016.

Of the 33 proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution submitted to the states by Congress, 27 have been ratified by three-fourths of the states; Minnesota has ratified 18.  This report outlines the amendment process, the procedural issues, and Minnesota's amendment ratification history.

The Minnesota deer hunting season is just around the corner. During the 2015 legislative session, informational hearings were held to discuss the concerns of hunters regarding the declining deer herd in Minnesota. On April 17, 2015, the Legislative Audit Commission voted to direct the Legislative Auditor to evaluate the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) deer management process. The Legislative Auditor's report is scheduled to be released in early 2016.

The DNR completed new deer population goals for 40 of the 128 deer permit areas in the state but is postponing the remaining goal setting until the completion of the legislative audit. The completed Deer Population Goals were done in five blocks:

Superior Uplands Arrowhead: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

North Central Plains - Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

Pine Moraines: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

East Central Uplands: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

Sand Plain – Big Woods: Minnesota Deer Population Goals

According to the DNR, "As a result of this process, 85 percent of the 40 areas will be managed for populations higher than those experienced in 2014; the remaining will see no change." Additional deer population goal setting resources including Hunter and Landowner Survey Results and Deer Advisory Team Recommendations are available in the "2015 goal setting" section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Deer Management website.

Uninsured Drivers

By Carol Blackburn

book cover

Most states in the U.S., including Minnesota, require drivers to have motor vehicle insurance. Yet, it is estimated that 10.8% of Minnesota drivers and 12.5% of drivers nationally drive without insurance. Minnesota currently has a manual process to verify insurance coverage yet in practice, coverage is verified only in select cases. More than 30 other states have some type of electronic verification system.

The 2014 Minnesota Legislature created a task force to "review and evaluate approaches to insurance coverage verification and recommend legislation to create and fund a program in this state." The Final Report of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Verification Task Force, released on February 1, 2015, offers a comprehensive review of the issue and offers recommendations related to Minnesota's program.  

A recent posting in the Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline blog, "States Look to Reduce Ranks of Uninsured Drivers", offers a glimpse of the problem around the country and looks at state government efforts to address this ongoing concern.