The office’s chief responsibility during the legislative session is to draft and review bills and related legislative documents for the legislature. The office’s session work includes drafting, managing drafting loads, maintaining a bill tracking system, maintaining the systems and software that support bill production, and the training and documentation associated with those systems, data entry, and providing supervision and quality control. As required by statute, the office drafts bills on request for any member of the House or the Senate, the governor and other constitutional officers, and for state agencies. Bill drafting services are nonpartisan and confidential. All drafting is done by lawyers, and the attorney-client privilege, as well as broad statutory confidentiality protection, attaches. A peer review procedure has been developed as part of the comprehensive quality control system for bill drafting. Computer programs developed in the office transfer data for all introduced bills to the legislative website.
The revisor's office has a statutory mandate to draft bills for the governor, state agencies, and special legislative commissions as well as for the members of the legislature. Much of the bill drafting for departments and agencies is done before the start of each legislative session. The office cooperates with the governor's office in preparing, approving, and jacketing of agency bills and with House and Senate majority or minority leadership to ensure bills are delivered to the legislature in a timely manner.
Amendments are prepared at the request of members, the governor and other constitutional officers, and state agencies for Senate and House committees and floor sessions. In addition, lawyers from the office are available on the House floor during floor sessions to draft amendments and provide related legal advice. The office also provides support staff to prepare amendments on the House floor.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.03, subdivision 2
Memorial resolutions are drafted to accomplish public goals and contain statements of facts referred for action by a governmental official, agency, or body. Concurrent resolutions are drafted to conduct the internal business of the legislature, such as establishing budget limits. Some simple resolutions also conduct internal legislative business. Most resolutions drafted by the office are congratulatory resolutions, which are drafted to recognize outstanding achievements by groups or individuals, most often Scouts, school athletic teams, and retirees. Resolutions are often presented at public functions by legislators or their designees to help maintain good constituent relations. Resolutions are prepared and delivered directly to the requesting legislator who obtains the necessary signatures. In addition to formal resolutions, the office prepares text that can be used by the Governor's Office in drafting proclamations as an alternative form of congratulation.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 4
Revisor's bills are routinely researched, proposed, and drafted by the office and introduced for consideration by members who sit on the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over civil law. Revisor's office staff attend committee hearings on these bills and testify as requested by the members.
There are two principal types of revisor's bills: (1) a bill to correct technical errors in the laws and statutes generally; and (2) bills to reorganize and improve the style and form of specific statutory chapters.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 4, and custom and usage of the legislature
The revisor’s office works with members and other legislative staff to draft a bill that is commonly known as the session “corrections bill.” This is a bill to correct errors in bills and legislative enactments within the current session and is customarily one of the final bills passed during a session. Because of end-of-session time constraints, the revisor’s office uses an abbreviated procedure developed with legislative leadership.
Source of mandate: House Rule 4.01, Joint Rule 2.01, and custom and usage of the legislature
The revisor's office examines every bill prepared for introduction and approves its form and compliance with the Joint and House rules and provisions of the Minnesota Constitution relating to bills, such as the single subject and enacting clause requirements. Form checks and approvals are a standard part of the quality control component of the bill drafting process.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6 (requested by the speaker and chief clerk of the House)
The office drafts and approves all committee reports from standing committees of the House. Staff work closely with House committee staff and members to make sure the reports are technically accurate and legally sufficient. The office also drafts subcommittee or division reports for the House. These reports are prepared at the request of a committee administrator or the administrative assistant to the Majority Leader.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6; custom and usage of the legislature
The office drafts and approves all conference committee reports of the House and Senate. Staff works closely with members and conference committee staff to make sure the reports are technically accurate and legally sufficient. These reports are usually prepared under significant time constraints during the last days of session.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 6; custom and usage of the legislature (requested by members, secretary of the Senate, and chief clerk of the House)
The office prepares two types of comparison reports for the legislature: conference committee comparison reports and House and Senate desk comparison reports.
The office prepares special side-by-side comparisons requested by committees for House and Senate bills under conference committee consideration. the comparisons show the differences in the text of the bills being considered.
The office prepares comparison reports for the House and Senate desks. The reports are used to determine differences in companion bills. The office prepares a detailed report showing the differences in language in each companion bill.
Source of mandate: Minnesota Statutes, section 3C.04, subdivision 5, Joint Rule 2.07
The office engrosses and enrolls all bills under the supervision of the chief clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate.
When bills are amended in committee or on the floor, the office merges the amendments into the bill text and carries out instructions to correct internal references or amend the title to produce engrossments, which help readers understand the effect of the amendments. The office also prepares "unofficial" engrossments of amendments adopted by one house to bills that originate in the other house, "unofficial" engrossments of amendments that are being considered in committees, and other similar working documents.
If amendments cannot be engrossed, the reviewing attorney will suggest journal corrections for minor technical matters or will work with interested members and staff to correct substantive problems.
After a bill has passed both houses in the same form, either as introduced or as finally engrossed, the bill is ready to be enrolled and presented to the governor. Each enrollment is checked for technical accuracy and legal sufficiency.
Signatures of the presiding and chief administrative officers of each house and the revisor are obtained and the bill is formally presented to the governor on behalf of the legislature. This work is done under time constraints imposed by the Minnesota Constitution.