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Farmington Rep. Garofalo aims for smaller legislature

If Rep. Pat Garofalo gets his way, the halls at the Minnesota State Capitol will feel a lot more spacious a decade from now.

Garofalo, a Republican from Farmington, introduced legislation March 7 that would cut the size of the Minnesota's legislature by more than half starting in 2023.

"The reality is that we have over 200 legislators at the capitol," Garofalo said. "It's one of the largest legislatures in the nation. I think it would set a good example for a more streamlined, accountable government."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota has the 21st largest population in the country and the fifth largest legislature. At 67 members, the Minnesota Senate is the country's largest by five members. New York's senate has 62 members, according to NCSL.

Garofalo's proposal would cut Minnesota's legislature to 75 members in 25 Senate districts and 50 House districts. The reduction would mean savings for the state because there would be fewer salaries for legislators, fewer legislative assistants and less need for office space.

"I think it would save at least $10 million a year," Garofalo said.

Garofalo also believes there is less need for a large legislature than there once would have been. With electronic communications, it's easier for elected officials to cover a wider area.

"The overwhelming majority of contact people have with legislators is through email and the Internet," Garofalo said. "It's not like the olden days."

Garofalo has requested a hearing for the bill.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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