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Woodbury Rep. Kieffer: Make it Tougher to Get Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot

The Republican wants the state to require a three-fifths vote rather than a simple majority for the ballot initiatives.

Rep. Andrea Kieffer plans to introduce a bill that would require a three-fifths vote of the Legislature before putting a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on the ballot, rather than a simple majority.

“If it’s important enough to change the Constitution, it needs to have bipartisan support,” said Kieffer, a Republican from Woodbury.

Specifically, Kieffer said she has issues with amendments tied to state finances, listing the 2008 passage of the Clean Water, Land and Water Legacy Amendment as an example.

Other states have similar thresholds in place for constitutional ballot initiatives, she said, and some require passage during two legislative sessions.

The November 2012 ballot had two proposed amendments to the Constitution, both of which failed.

Kieffer voted for putting the marriage and voter ID amendments on the ballot during the last session. On Monday, she called the marriage amendment “kind of a bad idea” but maintained her support for a voter ID bill.

On the Land and Water Legacy Amendment, Kieffer said it was difficult to see state dollars allocated there while lawmakers were delaying payments to schools.

Ultimately, Kieffer said it comes down to gaining more bipartisan support for possible changes to the Minnesota Constitution. Along those lines, she noted that a DFL lawmaker, Rep. Kim Norton, is working on a bill with the same language.

Kieffer said she plans to speak with Norton about moving the bill forward and would “fully support” her colleague.

 

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Irving January 07, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Making it harder to pass an amendment sounds like a very good idea. Of course, if it were up to me I would first pass an amendment that required a supermajority to pass any bill that increased the cost of government and required only 40% approval to pass any bill that decreased the cost of government.

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