Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk put his name on a bill that would make it tougher for lawmakers to put constitutional amendments on the ballot in Minnesota. The Iron Range Democrat decried the “sign wars” that marked an extraordinary election year in 2012, when voters in Minnesota were asked to decide two constitutional questions. “Minnesotans shouldn’t ever have to live through something like that again,” Bakk complained. His bill would require support from three-fifths of the members in both chambers of the legislature to approve a proposed constitutional amendment.
“This should at least ensure that these amendments have some bipartisan support, rather than coming from one party,” Bakk told reporters at the State Capitol.
Bakk’s measure would also slow down the timetable for changing the Constitution. If it became law, only one chamber of the legislature could vote on an amendment during a single session.
And that proposal would not go on the ballot until a year after it wins approval in the State Capitol.
Currently only a simple majority is required — 34 votes in the Senate and 68 votes in the House — to pass an amendment. Those proposals go straight to the voters, without giving the governor an opportunity to veto them.