Legislative Record

Paul is the 2015-2016 Minority Leader for the House DFL Caucus, Minnesota House of Representatives.

This legislative session, Thissen fought alongside Governor Dayton to invest in priorities important to Minnesotans. Thissen and members of the entire House DFL Caucus voted against the E-12 education bill because funding was inadequate and school districts warned it could result in teacher layoffs and program cuts.  Dayton vetoed the bill and the Special Session resulted in a much improved education bill with a total investment of $525 million.  The education bill was one of few bright spots in a session that was a missed opportunity for Minnesota.  Despite a $1.9 billion surplus, the legislature failed to continue the tuition freeze at 4-year public colleges and universities, failed to address our transportation crisis, failed to invest in universal pre-kindergarten for 47,000 Minnesota four-year olds, and failed to invest in broadband infrastructure and property tax relief for homeowners, renters, farmers, and small businesses.  Next session, Thissen and the House DFL Caucus will work to make progress on missed opportunities and will put the economic security of hardworking Minnesotans first.

Paul was Speaker of the House in 2013-2014, one of the most productive legislative biennia in a generation.   The legislature made historic investments in education: Minnesota’s first meaningful investment in early childhood education, All-Day Kindergarten for every student, a two year college tuition freeze.  The legislature provided direct property tax relief to Minnesotans leading to the first statewide reduction in property taxes in a decade.  The legislature also passed the Minnesota Dream Act, providing in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants, and expanded health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.  Ban the Box legislation became the law, allowing thousands of Minnesotans to get a second chance at work and opportunity.  Significant new investments in workforce housing, expanded sick leave, Minnesota’s first-ever solar standard, the Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, and bans on toxic chemicals were also enacted.  And, of course, marriage equality became the law in Minnesota.

Over his career, Paul has never shied away from carrying important, complex or controversial legislation. He has been centrally involved (often as Chief Author) in:


  •  Health Care Reform Bill of 2008: “the prize of the 2008 session” (Star Tribune)
  • Covering 40,000 more kids with health insurance and creating a public option for every child • Reforming electronic records and billing (saving $70 million per year)
  • Providing families with option to choose hospice in end-of-life care
  • Providing the disabled with flexibility and control over assistance dollars
  • Allowing small communities to control how long-term care dollars are used


  • Prioritizing thermal energy production from renewable resources for the first time in state history
  • Reducing sources of phosphorous in lakes and streams
  • Advocating renewable energy standards since 2003


  • Reforming government services with new laws requiring county cooperation, efficiency, and innovation
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship on social issues with Community Solutions Grants that will themselves become self-sustaining
  • Helping municipalities become “Communities for a Lifetime” by keeping their older residents active and engaged
  • Reforming eminent domain laws to protect homeowners and small businesses
  • Streamlining government reporting requirements and requiring cost-benefit analysis of privatization proposals


  • Merging the Minneapolis Teacher Pension Fund and the Minneapolis Employees Retirement Funsd into the statewide fund and enacting related pension reform.  Rep. Thissen was also instrumental in merging the final two Minneapolis pension funds for police and fire into state pension funds, saving Minneapolis property tax payers millions of dollars


  • Reforming campaign to reduce incentives for partisanship and speed up the resolution of complaints
  • Requiring that high school seniors get voter registration cards


  • Preserve housing and other benefits for homeless veterans
  • Securing bonding for All Veterans Memorial in Richfield


  • Tightening standards for guardians and conservators with a 15-point bill of rights for wards and protected persons
  • Writing and passing the Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Bill
  • Curbing refund loans and other abusive tax-preparer practices
  • Cracking down on unregulated lottery services providers
  • Prohibiting sales of lead jewelry to children