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S.F. No. 2809 - Modifying Governance of the Metropolitan Council
Author: Senator Eric R. Pratt
Prepared By: Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
Date: March 5, 2018



S.F. 2809 is a bill modifying the governance of the Metropolitan Council. In general, it removes the governor’s authority to appoint members to the Metropolitan Council, provides for staggered four-year terms for most members, increases the size of the Metropolitan Council, creates a municipal committee in each council district, and eliminates the Transportation Advisory Board ("TAB").

Section 1-2

Eliminates references to the nominating committee and the chair of the metropolitan council to conform with the substantive changes described below.  Sec. 2. is effective January 1, 2019.

Section 3

Subd. 1. Creation; membership. Increases the number of Metropolitan Council members from 17 to 29 and removes the governor’s authority to appoint members. Members must be appointed as follows: 

  • Each metropolitan area county board must appoint a county commissioner.
  • Each municipal committee from a Metropolitan Council district must appoint a local elected official.
  • The mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis must each appoint a local elected official.
  • The commissioner of transportation or the commissioner’s designee must be appointed.
  • The commissioner of transportation must appoint one person to represent nonmotorized transportation, one person to represent freight transportation, and one person to represent public transit.

Paragraph (b) states that these offices are compatible with each other.

Paragraph (c) states that the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council is limited to the seven-county metro area.

Subdivision 2a. Terms. Local elected officials appointed by a municipal committee, mayoral appointees, and county board appointee are limited to four-year staggered terms. The term ends sooner if the person ceases to be a local elected official. An individual appointed by the commissioner of transportation serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority. Under current law, all Metropolitan Council members serve at the pleasure of the governor.

Subdivision 2b. Municipal committee in each council district.  Creates a municipal committee in each of the 16 Metropolitan Council districts. As described above, each municipal committee is responsible for appointing one Metropolitan Council member. Meetings are subject to the Open Meeting Law. This subdivision is effective the day following enactment.

Subdivision 3. Compensation. The council shall pay the chair $40,000 and other members, except for commissioner of transportation or the commissioner’s designee, $20,000. The commissioner of transportation is not eligible for compensation.

Subdivision 3a. Redistricting. Amends language to conform with substantive changes made in previous subdivisions, stating that the municipal committees, instead of the governor, shall appoint members post-redistricting.

Subdivision 4. Chair; appointment, officers, selection; duties and compensation. Instead of the governor appointing the chair, members of the Metropolitan Council will select the chair and the chair shall serve at the pleasure of the council.

Subdivision 9. Authority to vote; quorum; votes required for action. Provides for voting and quorum rules for the Metropolitan Council as follows: 

  • Any mayoral, county board, or municipal committee appointed member may vote on all matters.
  • The commissioner of transportation or designee and any member appointed by the commissioner of transportation may only vote for transportation planning purposes.
  • A quorum is a majority of members permitted to vote on a matter.
  • In all matters, the council may act on a majority vote except a 60 percent vote in favor is required for adopting a levy or a metropolitan system plan or plan amendment.

Effective date. Except as provided above, this section is effective January 1, 2019. Metropolitan Council members serving on that date may continue to serve until municipal committees appoint a replacement.

Section 4

Subd. 3. Development guide: transportation. Eliminates a reference to the Transportation Advisory Board (“TAB”). This section is effective January 1, 2019.

Section 5

Subd. 4. Transportation planning. Eliminates TAB, which is consistent with the changes made in the above-referenced sections to the structure and composition of the Metropolitan Council. This section is effective January 1, 2019. 

Background. The TAB and the Metropolitan Council work together to fulfill the requirements of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO). An MPO is required by federal law for an urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 people. Federal law requires an MPO to include local elected officials, officials of agencies that administer or operate major modes of transportation in the metropolitan area, and appropriate state officials. Although the Metropolitan Council itself does not meet these requirements, the TAB does include the necessary people. 

Section 6.

Repealer. Repeals a 1994 law prescribing salaries for the Metropolitan Council chair and members. Effective January 1, 2019.

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