A caucus is a group of representatives or senators who affiliate with the same political party or faction, such as "DFL Caucus," the "Republican Caucus," the "New Republican Caucus," the "Majority" caucus, or the "Minority" caucus. Also, any meeting of such a group is called a caucus.
The House of Representatives has web pages for party caucuses: the Republican Caucus, the New Republican Caucus, and the Democratic/DFL Caucus.
The Senate also has web pages for party caucuses: the DFL Caucus and the Republican Caucus.
In the House, members of each party caucus meet on an informal basis within a week or two after the general election to organize and elect leaders. Each caucus can nominate a speaker designate. The speaker is officially elected by members of the entire House on the opening day of the session. The majority caucus also elects a majority leader and assistant leaders. Likewise, the minority caucus elects a minority leader to express the caucus opinion on the House floor, and other assistant minority leaders. For a list of current leaders in the House, see the House of Representatives Leadership web page.
In the Senate, the leader of the majority caucus directs the business of the Senate and is considered the leader of the Senate. He or she is elected by the members of the caucus, which also elects the leader's chief assistant, called the assistant majority leader. The minority caucus also elects its own leaders, much like the House does. The President of the Senate, who presides over the activities of the Senate and assigns bills to committees, is elected on the opening day of each biennial session. Senate leadership positions are noted on the Senate member page.
Whichever party holds the most seats in either the House or the Senate is considered the Majority Caucus.
Employees working for a caucus in the House or Senate are considered partisan. There are many other staff who work in nonpartisan offices.
Heads of state agencies do not specifically have party affiliations related to their jobs since they are not elected. However, they are appointed by the governor—a partisan, elected official.
Each biennium the leaders in the House and the Senate set the number and scope of the standing committees and establish committee chairs according to which party is in the majority. Whichever party holds the most seats in either the House or the Senate is considered the Majority Caucus.
The majority caucus in the Senate elects a majority leader, who is also chair of the Rules and Administration Committee. Two other chairs are elected by the entire caucus, the chair of the Tax Committee and the Chair of the Finance Committee. Other chairs are selected by an organizational committee of the majority caucus. Membership on the committees is according to the proportion of each caucus. The minority caucus may offer suggestions of individual members for the minority representation on each committee. The minority caucus also names a "minority lead" on each committee. The Rules and Administration Subcommittee on Conference Committees selects members for conference ommittees. In addition, no Senator may serve as the chair of a specific committee or one under its jurisdiction for more than three Senate terms.
In the House, the Speaker chooses the committee chairs and appoints members of each committee. Each member is allowed to state his or her preference. In deciding on a committee chair, the speaker usually chooses a senior member with some expertise in the committee's work, but not always. A member cannot serve as the chair of the same standing committee or division during more than three consecutive regular biennial sessions. This Rule does not apply to service as chair of the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration. Ideally, committee memberships reflect the balance of DFL and Republican members in the House. Each committee, therefore, would be a representative sample of the whole body. Conference committee members are also appointed by the Speaker.