Senator Roger Reinert, D-Duluth and Senator Jeremy Miller, R-Winona started the Purple Caucus back in 2013 when Democrats controlled the House and the Senate. According to a March 5th 2013 Star Tribune blog post about the caucus, the idea came from the “Speak Your Peace” civility project which launched in 2003 from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.
For the upcoming legislative session Miller says one of their priorities is making government more friendly and efficient. Miller has already met with Governor Dayton to discuss how to fix MnSure, the state’s Health exchange for Obamacare. This position is at odds with House leadership where a current bill from the Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, Rep Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, has proposed scrapping the state exchange in favor of joining 37 other states in the federal exchange.
Other Purple Caucus priorities this session include more spending on education and transportation as well as efforts to reform child protective services.
Caucus member Bill Weber, R-Luverne, advocates replacing the per-gallon gas tax as cars now get better mileage. The caucus has no specific transportation funding plan at this time.
There are reported to be 23 members of the caucus who have met regularly since 2013. This number represents 1/3 of the Minnesota State Senate.
Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka (13)
Sen. Greg Clausen DFL-Apple Valley (7)
Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester (67)
Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake (87)
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center (67)
Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato (7)