Minnesota Legislature scaling back operations amid coronavirus outbreak

Minnesota State House representatives stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Minnesota State House representatives stood for the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the legislative session on Feb. 11, 2020, at the State Capitol in St. Paul.
Anthony Souffle | Star Tribune via AP

Minnesota legislative leaders announced Sunday night that they're planning to effectively recess the legislative session for up to a month, coming in only on an as-needed basis to pass legislation related to the coronavirus situation.

Leaders from both parties — House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent — released a statement on their plans, saying that "over the next few weeks, the Minnesota Legislature will continue to work, but by alternative means."

Lawmakers will follow state health department guidelines to limit large gatherings, increase cleaning and move to off-site working when possible.

“The Legislative bodies and committees will meet in floor and committee session on an on-call basis from March 16 through April 14," the legislative leaders said in a statement. "This means there will not be standing floor and committee meetings, but we will meet on the House and Senate floors and in committees with advance notice to members and to the public. All meetings will be held in spaces that allow six feet of distance between individuals."

Minnesota residents are encouraged to contact their legislators by email, phone and mail.

Legislative leaders are set to further discuss their plans on Monday.