Charter commission rejects Minneapolis council’s public safety amendment

Published 5:47 pm Friday, November 6, 2020

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By Brandt Williams

After stalling the Minneapolis City Council’s bid to possibly overhaul the Police Department via changing the city’s constitution three months ago, the charter commission voted Wednesday to formally reject that proposal.

Since August, a commission subgroup had continued to study the finer points of the council’s proposal, which if passed by voters would have cleared the way for the council to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new community safety and violence prevention department. On Monday, that working group voted unanimously to reject the proposal. The full commission concurred with that decision.

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The commission’s rejection of the proposed amendment won’t necessarily keep it from voters in the 2021 election. Now that the charter commission has fulfilled its statutory obligation, the council can choose to place the original proposal on the ballot.

It’s also possible for a citizen-led amendment to be placed on the ballot, provided they can gather enough signatures. That could be a heavy lift.

State law requires the number of signatures on the petition be at least five percent of the number of votes cast in the previous election. At last count, more than 237,000 Minneapolis voters cast ballots this year, a new record. A citizen petition will require nearly 12,000 signatures to get on the 2021 ballot.