Scared to come to the Capitol? Here are some tips.
- The Capitol Complex - There are two separate buildings that house the work of the legislature and their offices. The State Office Building has the offices of most members of the House of Representatives and often the House of Representatives’ committee meetings are held here. The State Capitol has the offices of most members of the Senate and their committee meetings are held here. Both the House and Senate chambers are in the State Capitol – this is where the floor session happens. The two buildings are connected through a tunnel that is on the basement level of the State Capitol and the ground level of the State Office Building. If you have some mobility issues, plan on the tunnel taking some time to walk. A map of the Capitol complex can be found here: http://www.leg.state.mn.us/graphics/CapitolComplex.jpg
- Parking - There are several public lots surrounding the Capitol Complex, as well as metered and street parking. We suggest bringing lots of quarters! A map of the public parking lots can be found here: http://www.gis.leg.mn/html/gisdirections.html
- Setting Up Appointments With Your Legislators - We suggest setting up appointments ahead of time with your legislators by calling their legislative assistant. Legislators LOVE when their constituents come to visit them! Find their contact information at http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/. If they are unavailable, you can always stop by their office and leave a note OR pull them out of committee or floor session by sending them a note (if you come during a Tuesday at the Capitol, a staff person will be there to assist you). Your appointment will probably be somewhere between 5 – 15 minutes.
- What to Bring - We recommend that you type up your story and what you’re asking your legislator to support ahead of time. It’s also handy to include a photo on your typed-up story. Keep your story to no more than 1.5 pages single-spaced, and bring 3 copies – one for you to reference, one for your representative, and one for your senator. Leave copies with them (or their legislative assistant if they’re not at their office)…legislators sometimes like to share their constituents’ stories with other legislators to garner their support!
- Can I bring my kids? - Yes! Allowing legislators and other citizens to meet kids with autism is an invaluable tool. For kids with sensory issues, the Capitol Complex can be busy and overwhelming. There can also be a lot of walking.
- What about food? – If you’re at the Capitol Complex long enough where you’ll need food, you can either bring some (and eat it almost anywhere in the Capitol) or go to the Transportation Building cafeteria (the Transportation Building is also linked by a tunnel).