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S.F. No. 1490 - Modifying Governance of the Metropolitan Council
Author: Senator David J. Osmek
Prepared By: Alexis C. Stangl, Senate Counsel (651/296-4397)
Priyanka Premo, Senate Counsel (651/296-3914)
Date: March 16, 2017


S.F. 1490 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, amends the term of service for each member, increases the size of the Metropolitan Council, and creates a municipal committee in each council district. The Transporation Advisory Board ("TAB") is eliminated.

Section 1.

Subdivision 1. Creation; membership. Limits the Metropolitan Council’s jurisdiction to the seven-county metropolitan area, increases the number of Metropolitan Council members from 17 to 27, and removes the governor’s authority to appoint members. Members must be appointed as follows:  Each metropolitan area county must appointment a county commissioner.

  • Each municipal committee from a Metropolitan Council district must 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 and is effective the day following enactment.

Paragraph (c) states that the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Council is the 7 county metro area, regardless of whether the definition of metropolitan area is changed.

Subdivision 2a. Terms. Local elected officials appointed by a municipal committee are limited to a two-year term. The term ends sooner if the person ceases to be a local elected official. Similarly, a county commissioner serves a two-year term and the term ends sooner if the county commissioner ceases to be a county commissioner. 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. 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 postredistricting.

Subdivision 4. Chair; appointment, officers, selection; duties and compensation. Instead of the governor appointing the chair, members of the Metropolitan Council will appoint the chair and determine the chair’s term.

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

  • Any county 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, 2018. Metropolitan Council members serving on that date may continue to serve until municipal committees appoint a replacement.

Section 2.

Transportation planning. Eliminates the Transportation Advisory Board (“TAB”). Elimination of the TAB is consistent with the changes made in section 1 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 3.

Subdivision 2. Within 60 days; report. Authorizes an adjudicator to consider the reasonableness of a metropolitan system plan. These hearings are conducted when a local government unit and the Metropolitan Council have disagreements about a plan.

Effective date. This section is effective the day following enactment.

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