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Welcome

Welcome to the inaugural “The State of Bipartisanship” report produced by Majority in the Middle.

 

Majority in the Middle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization giving those in the political middle a place to gather outside the extremes, elevating voices of people who are modeling behavior we want to see, and working on ways to bring a little more civility and a little less partisanship to our politics.

 

Majority in the Middle works to elevate elected representatives who embrace working with others to find solutions, and to identify and encourage structural changes in governing that will remove barriers to such cooperation.

 

Understanding that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, this report is designed to analyze bipartisan bill authorship as one important reflection of effective collaboration. This effort will begin identifying places where cooperation happens, elevating the people who are leading the way, and collecting replicable ideas to cultivate a healthier political environment -- in St. Paul and in state capitols across the country. 

Executive Summary

In the current political environment, everywhere from DC to state capitols across the country, bipartisanship is rarely on display. 

 

Binary red-vs-blue narratives lead Minnesotans to believe that legislators are irreparably segregated along party lines. This report shows that’s not entirely true. 

 

Bipartisanship is difficult to measure, as it’s highly qualitative, subjective, and relationship-based. We have chosen one quantitative measure we believe provides an illustration of some of the work that goes on at the State Capitol: bill authorship.

 

Legislators who are collaborating with colleagues across the aisle should get credit for the work they’re doing. This report, a first of its kind in Minnesota, uncovers where that credit is due. 

 

Even though some lawmakers actually face backlash over their bipartisan work, we know there are many constituents who not only applaud those efforts, they expect it.

 

The bottom line: there is some bipartisanship at work in Minnesota, and there is room for improvement.

We hope this report will accomplish two things:
 

One, to give support and acknowledgement to those legislators who are working across the aisle. We see you and we thank you for work that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Keep it up. 
 

Secondly, to the public: despite what you may see in the news, or on social media, or from political campaigns – not all politics is divisive. Not every legislator sees enemies on the other side of the aisle. If you look hard enough, you can see the good work that’s being done behind the scenes. (And if bipartisan cooperation is something you care about, we encourage you to run for office. This work needs more champions.)

A subset of statistics from the report

Committees (details p. 20-71)

Senate committees that heard the most bills with minority chief authors:

  • Transportation - 49%  

  • Taxes - 37%

  • Capital Investment - 24%

 

House committees that heard the most bills with minority chief authors:

  • Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy – 44%

  • Capital Investment - 29%

  • Legacy Finance; Taxes - both 16%


Senate committees that heard the most bipartisan* bills:

  • Human Services - 73%

  • Agriculture, Broadband, & Rural Development - 43%

  • Higher Education; Jobs and Economic Development; Education Finance – all 42%

House committees that heard the most bipartisan* bills:

  • Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy - 56%

  • Human Services Finance - 39%

  • Agriculture Finance and Policy - 38%

*bipartisan bill = at least one author from each party

Individual Legislators (details p. 72-108)

  • 66 Senators had bipartisan co-authors on at least one bill they carried as the chief author 

  • Ten Republican Senators and 11 Republican House members had DFL chief authors on at least 50% of the bills they signed onto as co-authors

  • Seven Republican and seven DFL members in the House chief-authored as many or more bills with cosigners of the opposite party than they did with just members of their own party. 

  • Two Republican House members had bipartisan co-authors on 100% of the bills they carried as the chief author that they carried with others

Note: this report has been edited since it's initial publication, to correct an error in the data. Pages that have changed are marked with an asterisk. We apologize for the error. 

Do you need more information to interpret the findings, have specific questions about the results, or want to know how we collected the data? Join us on Zoom on Wednesday, October 4 for a free lunch-and-learn event. Register here for the link

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