Met Council restructuring bill passes the Senate

A bill seeking to restructure the Metropolitan Council was passed off the Senate floor Monday evening, with a 34-32 party-line vote. If signed, the bill as amended would make significant changes to the composition of the Met Council, bringing the number of serving individuals to 28 members, up from its current number of 17.

In addition to the membership increase is a complete revamp of the council’s membership composition. Rather than being comprised solely of gubernatorial appointments, the new council would include one locally elected official appointed by a municipal committee of each Met Council district; one county commissioner from each of the 7 metropolitan counties – Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington; the commissioner of transportation or a designee; three members appointed by the commissioner to represent non-motorized transportation, freight transportation, and public transit; and a gubernatorially appointed chair.

Supporters of the legislation contend the changes will bring accountability to the council, as its current composition of gubernatorial appointees has regional taxation authority without being elected by the regions’ residents. Opponents argue having elected officials on the Met Council would bring with it several conflicts of interest, as they would be acting in incompatible positions as both the regulator and as the regulated. The bill has been sent to the House, where it was referred to Ways and Means. The language for this bill is also included in the transportation finance conference committee report.

(SF 1490/HF 1866)