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Library News - State Government

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! 

 

Magnolias blooming on the Capitol groundsPeople often ask the library about salaries of Minnesota legislators. Currently, legislator salaries are set at $48,250, but that will soon change. The latest issue of the Report of the Legislative Salary Council, new this month in the Library, sets legislators’ salaries at $52,750 beginning July 1, 2023. 

Prior to 2016, the Minnesota Constitution provided that legislators’ compensation was prescribed by law. A constitutional amendment regarding how legislators’ salaries are set was adopted by the voters in the 2016 election, which also happens to be our most recent constitutional amendment. The Legislative Salary Council’s first prescribed salary for legislators went into effect July 1, 2017. More details about legislator compensation are noted in the FAQ and our chart of Compensation of Minnesota Legislators, 1858 - present

Another new report this month is the Recommendations of the Minnesota State Compensation Council. This report, as indicated by the title, is not prescriptive but instead contains recommendations for compensation levels for the governor, other constitutional officers, judges, and several other officials. The Legislature can establish a new salary for the governor through an appropriation, or by passing a law that provides for a specific salary, or by providing for a percentage change in the salary. Under current law, if the Legislature does nothing, the salary does not change.

To see a chart of how these recommendations have related to the governor’s salary over time, see the library’s new Minnesota Governor’s Salary, 1983-Present page. Since their beginning in 1983, the Compensation Council has made recommendations nearly every odd-numbered year, but they did not meet in 2003, 2011, or in 2015. 

Contact us with questions, for research assistance, or to borrow these books and reports or any of the materials on this month's list: library@lrl.mn.gov or 651-296-8338.

Winning the lottery is an irresistible dream—despite its unlikeliness—for the 33 million Americans who try their luck each week. The modern era of state-operated lotteries began in 1964 in New Hampshire. In the last fifty-nine years, all but five states have established lotteries.   

For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America by Jonathan D. Cohen (Oxford University Press, 2022) is a comprehensive study of American lotteries. Cohen asserts that just as individuals pin their hopes and dreams on winning an enormous jackpot, policymakers gamble on lotteries, too, to generate a new source of revenue for sagging budgets without raising taxes. 

Minnesota was the 33rd state to establish a lottery. Minnesotans approved a constitutional amendment to allow a state-run lottery in 1988 with a 58 percent majority. The Minnesota State Lottery began selling tickets a year and a half later. 

The most recent Minnesota Lottery Annual Report states that Minnesota Lottery winners took home $470 million in prizes in fiscal year 2022 and generated $172.6 million for the state. The funds go toward programs dedicated to the protection and preservation of Minnesota’s environmental and natural resources and to responsible gambling programs. The Lottery annual reports provide basic financial figures for each year since it was established. 

Contact us with questions, for research assistance, or to borrow these books and reports: library@lrl.mn.gov or 651-296-8338. 

Photo of Glen Stubbe next to his photography exhibitThe Legislative Reference Library is pleased to have Star Tribune photographer Glen Stubbe's engaging photographs of the Senate and the Capitol on display in the Library's Senate location.  Come see them soon--or stop by during a reception for Glen's exhibit on Thursday, January 19 from 9:30-11.  Cookies will be served!

Glen's Star Tribune colleague, Briana Bierschbach, wrote words of introduction to Glen's exhibit: 

At the Minnesota Capitol, the state Senate is the stately upper chamber, where senators and reporters must follow a dress code and decorum tends to prevail over fiery passions. But it can also be a place of warmth, where political rivals share a prayer, freshly baked bars and pat on the back after a grueling debate.

As a staff photographer for the Star Tribune, Glen Stubbe is often in the room where it happens, capturing both the debates that shape state policy and the little moments that show the humanity of the institution. He taps into a deep understanding of his source material and relationships developed over many years to capture moments others don't.

These images pull back the curtain on government in a way no words could ever convey.

-Briana Bierschbach, Politics and Government Reporter at the Star Tribune

Uniform Crime Report

By David Schmidtke

Since 1935, the Minnesota Legislature has mandated the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), to collect statistics on crime data from Minnesota law enforcement agencies. The 1934 Biennial Report of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported statistics on the crimes we are familiar with today, but also included “Adultery,” “Circulating false rumors about banks,” and “Defrauding an inn keeper.” Interestingly, there were 32 bank robberies in 1933 for a total loss of $125,383.40, with $4,773.19 recovered. The next year, 1934, only reported seven bank robberies, for a total loss of $13,327.23. A Minneapolis Tribune column from December 1934 attributes the decline in bank robberies to the persistent efforts of both federal and local police officers to break up "bandit gangs."

To this day, the BCA continues to publish crime statistics under the title Uniform Crime Report. While it no longer reports on crimes of “Adultery,” “Circulating false rumors about banks,” and “Defrauding an inn keeper,” it is rich with statistics on crimes of violence, property crimes, and firearms discharge and uses of force. Crime statistics fluctuate over years, but the 2021 Uniform Crime Report lists that there were 33 bank robberies that year, only beating out 1934 by one robbery.

This last year, the BCA launched a related interactive database, the Minnesota Crime Data Explorer. According to the BCA, this database contains more detailed information from which current crime data can be obtained at any time.  It also contains summary data about the most serious offense associated with an incident, more details on all crimes associated with an incident, as well as detailed data about victims and offenders.

A 4th Special Session for the 1st Time

By Elizabeth Lincoln & Elaine Settergren

Earlier this year, many believed that the first special session, called to provide the Legislature with an opportunity to reject Governor Walz's executive order establishing a peacetime emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak, might last all summer. A 159-day special session in 1971 holds the record for the longest one. Like clockwork, four special sessions have been called this year as the peacetime emergency orders expire. These orders have not broken a record for length, but Friday's special session will break another record: the first time the state has held four in a calendar year.  

Even calling three special sessions in a year is unusual. The three special sessions called by Governor Arne Carlson in 1997 were for a variety of reasons--K-12 funding, flood relief, and funding for a baseball stadium. Those held in both 1981 and 1982 were all called in an attempt to solve the dire financial circumstances the state faced during Governor Al Quie's years in office.

As his peacetime emergency orders expire, the Governor has continued to call a special session. Once the special session convenes, it is up to the legislature to determine the length and actions taken. 2020 is a record breaking year and there may still be more special sessions yet to come!

The 1918-1919 Influenza in Minnesota

By Molly Riley & Elaine Settergren

Victory Celebration Postponed in Minneapolis due to Influenza - Minneapolis Morning Tribune, November 13, 1918.Outbreaks of influenza (flu), poliomyelitis (polio), diphtheria, and typhoid fever have all impacted Minnesota, especially in the earlier days of statehood. Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic, many have wondered about the state’s response to the influenza outbreak of 1918-1919.  

During that outbreak, the first case of flu was discovered in Minnesota in September 1918 and cases peaked during the fall of 1918. In The People’s Heath: A History of Public Health in Minnesota to 1948, author Philip D. Jordan chronicles how flu impacted the state.   

He describes measures taken then that echo our current circumstances in many ways. In 1918, large public gatherings in churches and theaters were prohibited for a time, and health officials strongly recommended schools close, though not all schools did. Dr. Henry Bracken, the head of the State Board of Health, ordered that flu patients could not ride trains without wearing a mask. According to Jordan, public places in Minneapolis, like saloons and soda fountains, remained closed during Armistice Day celebrations in November. 

The Legislature did not meet in 1918 because they only met in odd-numbered years in those days. In 1919, the Legislature met in regular session from January 7 to April 24. Although the Legislature passed a few bills related to public health during the 1919 session (see Laws of Minnesota 1919, chap. 38 and chap. 479), we haven’t been able to determine if those laws were passed in direct response to the flu outbreak. Likewise, there is little reported in the paper about any direct actions taken by the Legislature in 1919 to address the outbreak. In those days, it seems to have been more common for local health departments, sometimes in conjunction with the State Board of Health, to play a leading role in responding to public health issues.

These sources offer a deeper dive into how the influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 impacted Minnesota: 

COVID-19 Guide

By Betsy Haugen

The Library has put together a new Minnesota Issues guide to state and legislative action regarding the coronavirus disease. To address this quickly evolving situation, the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Walz have implemented a variety of measures to address the impacts of the disease on the lives of Minnesotans. The guide compiles a brief history of action, provides statutory references, and links to relevant reports and news items. We are updating our COVID-19 guide daily.

What is the History of Presidential Primaries in Minnesota?

By Robbie LaFleur, updated by Elaine Settergren

Stack of Newspaper Clippings

The Minnesota Legislature has passed a presidential preference primary law four times; three were repealed. Four presidential preference primaries have been held: 1916, 1952, 1956, 1992, and soon a fifth will be held: 2020.

1913

Governor Eberhart promoted the presidential primary in his inaugural speech in 1913, and the Legislature passed a law that year, Chapter 449.

1916

The primary was held on March 14 (election results). Winners: Democrat, Woodrow Wilson; Prohibition, William Sulzer; Republican, Albert B. Cummins

Two days before the election, the Duluth News Tribune wrote about the upcoming contest, including "The crazy quilt presidential primary has befuddled everybody from the rummy to the justices of the Supreme Court."

In 1947, former Morning Star Tribune reporter Charles Cheney recalled the primary in "The Story of Minnesota Politics: Highlights of Half a Century of Political Reporting." "Minnesota tried the presidential primary once, in 1916, and that was enough. It was a lot of grief and expense.... The 1917 Legislature repealed the presidential primary freak, and few tears were shed."

1917

The law was repealed, Chapter 133.

1949

A presidential primary was established by Chapter 433, approved April 14.

1952

The primary was held on March 18 (election results). Winners: DFL, Hubert Humphrey; Republican, Harold Stassen

G. Theodore Mitau wrote about the primary in his 1970 version of the textbook Politics in Minnesota. "Stassen had led in the Minnesota Republican presidential primary, and most of the state's convention delegates were officially pledged to him. But a write-in campaign for Dwight D. Eisenhower, launched just a few days before the state primary, had resulted in what came to be called the "Minnesota miracle." With almost none of the advance publicity Stassen had enjoyed, and without the approval of the national Eisenhower organization, the campaign was phenomenally successful; 108,692 voters took the trouble to write in Eisenhower's name on the ballot, while Stassen, whose name was printed thereon, received only 20,000 more votes, 129,076."

1956

The primary was held on March 20 (election results). Winners: Democrat, Estes Kefauver; Republican, Dwight Eisenhower

Minnesota Politics and Government, a 1999 textbook by Daniel Elazar, Virgina Gray and Wyman Spano, explained: "In the 1956 presidential primary the leaders of the DFL tried to deliver the state for Adlai Stevenson by virtually dictating to the rank-and-file DFLers that they vote for him in the name of party unity. The spontaneous reaction of the voters was to give Estes Kefauver the victory, a message pointed toward Hubert Humphrey."  See also: "Primary History '56 Free-for-All Contest Had it All," by Jim Parsons, Star Tribune, Jan. 19, 1992.

Entire chapters were devoted to this primary race in Coya Come Home: A Congresswoman's Journey by Gretchen Urnes Beito (Los  Angeles: Pomegranate Press, 1990) and Hubert Humphrey: A Biography by Carl Solberg (St. Paul: Borealis Books, 2003).

1959

The presidential primary law was repealed, Chapter 67

Iric Nathanson wrote about the 1952 and 1956 primaries in a 2008 MinnPost article, "Political Mischief: Minnesota's 1950s Experiment with Presidential Primaries." About the repeal, he wrote, "The mainly Republican conservatives controlled the state Senate, and they moved first to vote repeal with only minimal debate. But repeal was more controversial in the House, where the liberal caucus, composed of DFLers, was in control. There, a repeal vote was delayed when primary supporters, many of whom had backed Kefauver in 1956, pushed unsuccessful to conduct one more direct primary in 1960 before scuttling the 1949 law entirely. But now DFL leaders were concerned that a 1960 primary, which permitted cross-over voting, could embarrass Hubert Humphrey and his bid for the 1960 presidential nomination." 

1989

A presidential primary bill, authored by Sen. Ron Dicklich, passed the Senate 48-16, and then the House 117-10, Chapter 291.

1990

Changes were made to the law. The date was pushed back from the last week in February to April 7, and voters were required to declare themselves for a particular party in order to get a ballot. Chapter 603. (Background: "Minnesota Primary Law Aims at Increasing Clout," by Gerald Kopplin, Hibbing Tribune, May 9, 1990)

1991-1992

The House and Senate voted to repeal the presidential primary, but Governor Arne Carlson vetoed the bill. His veto message described his support for a presidential primary. The Senate voted to override the veto, 56-9, but the House failed to override the veto, 77-49. See the veto page for detailed information. The primary remained in place. For background information, read: "The $4 Million Beauty Contest: Primaries and Caucuses 1992: Power to the People, Sort of," Roger Swardson, City Pages, February 26, 1992.

1992

The primary was held on April 7, 1992. Winners: DFL, Bill Clinton; IR, George H. W. Bush (election results). For more details, see: "Primal Yawn: Nation, and Most State Voters, Ignored Controversial Primary," by Dane Smith, Star Tribune, April 9, 1992.

1995

The presidential primary was put on hold until after 1999. More about the hold is described in: "Hopes Dashed for Presidential Primary, Election Overhaul," Jack B. Coffman, Pioneer Press, May 19, 1995).

1999

The presidential primary law was repealed in Chapter 250, Article 1, Section 115.

2016

Minnesota will move from a presidential caucus to a presidential primary for the 2020 election, Chapter 162.

2020

The presidential primary will be held March 3, 2020 on "Super Tuesday." This year, Minnesota will be one of 14 states with a primary on that day.

The Library has additional sources of information on the four Minnesota presidential primaries, including many news clippings on the 1992 primary and discussion of the issue during that decade. Another good source is for this timeline is: Dr. Eric Ostermeier's article for his Smart Politics blog, "A Brief History of Presidential Primaries."

Tom Olmscheid exhibit hanging in LibraryTom Olmscheid is a retired legislative photographer whose work you've likely encountered over the years from his 35 years as the chief photographer for the Minnesota House of Representatives. His work also hangs in the basement of the State Capitol and has been displayed in the Library in the past.

With elections on everyone's mind, including the special election being held in Minnesota today to fill two legislative seats, now is a great time to visit the Library's 6th floor State Office Building location to see a new elections-related exhibit by Tom.

This is how Tom describes his exhibit, "Election Day: People, Process & Paper Ballots":

"On Nov. 4, 1980, as the sun was beginning to rise I began my Election Day picture story at the Afton Town Hall. I had gotten the approval of the Secretary of State [Joan Growe] and the head election judge to be in the polling place during Election Day to do my story. This picture story is about the people, the process and the use of paper ballots. To add interest to the picture story I knew Vice President Walter Mondale would be voting at the Afton Town Hall. 

"It's ordinary citizens that give their time to be election judges. They're at the polling place in early morning setting up, assisting voters while the polling place is open and staying late into the night until all of the ballots are counted and the votes totaled. 

"The process begins when voters register and receive their ballots, mark their ballots and then cast their ballots in the correct ballot box. After the polling place closes the ballots are counted and the vote totals are reported. Election security experts consider paper ballots the most secure form of voting."

If you can't make it this week then next week will be the perfect opportunity to visit his exhibit because the Library will celebrate an important milestone - our 50th anniversary! More details to come, but mark your calendars now for our open house on Thursday, February 13 from 1:30-3pm.