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Minneapolis City Council committee approves potential November ballot questions

The ballot questions relate to rent control, a potential new public safety department and changing the city's government structure.
Minneapolis City Hall

A Minneapolis City Council committee voted on three proposals on Wednesday that could be put in front of voters in November.

The Policy and Government Oversight Committee discussed:

  • Two potential rent stabilization measures
  • A proposal to change the city’s charter in relation to the police department
  • A proposal that would give the mayor more power in the city government structure

The full council will vote on the three measures Friday.

Rent stabilization measures:

The committee discussed and approved two potential routes toward a rent stabilization program in the city.

One proposal would allow citizens to draft their own rent control ordinance to present to the council, which could approve the policy or opt to put it in front of voters on a ballot.

The other proposal would allow the council to put a rent control proposal on the ballot or pass such a policy without voter approval.

The efforts have been led by Council President Lisa Bender along with Council Members Cam Gordon and Jeremiah Ellison.

The city’s Charter Commission rejected the two proposals earlier this month, though the council can still decide to put them on the ballot in November.

If approved on Friday, the proposals head to Mayor Jacob Frey’s office, who can veto them, according to the Star Tribune.

Public safety charter amendment:

The council also examined another policy proposal that could make its way to voters in November.

Spearheaded by the policy group Yes 4 Minneapolis, the proposal would amend the city’s charter in an effort to change the city’s public safety approach.

The amendment would establish a new department of public safety that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department, eliminate the requirement to keep a minimum number of officers in the city, and reduce the mayor's power over police operations in favor of the council.

The new department would then focus on a “comprehensive” approach to public safety, according to a city presentation.

But the new department would also include “licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety.”

Mayoral power structure change:

The committee also looked at a proposal brought forth by the city’s Charter Commission. The proposal would change the city government’s organizational structure to give the mayor’s office more power over several departments.

Under the new structure, the mayor would have sole oversight of the fire department, police department, city attorney, health department and other areas.

The city council would primarily have oversight over legislative issues, including boards and commissions, the city clerk’s office and the city auditor.

The council cannot approve or reject the proposal, though it can vote on specific wording that appears on the ballot, according to the Star Tribune. 

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