State lawmakers mull higher hurdle for constitutional amendments

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State lawmakers are pondering whether to make it more difficult for the Minnesota Legislature to send a constitutional amendment proposal to voters.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, wants to require a three-fifths majority vote in the Legislature before any constitutional amendment would be placed on the November ballot, the Associated Press reports. Currently, a simple majority of lawmakers in each chamber must approve such measures.

The issue follows the 2012 election in which the then-GOP controlled Legislature had put two highly controversial constitutional amendments on the ballot, one to effectively ban gay marriage, and the other to require photo IDs when voting.

Voters shot down both amendment proposals. On the gay marriage ban amendment, the House had narrowly voted 70-62 to send the issue to voters; the Senate had voted 37-27.

On Monday, the Senate State Government Committee will consider several proposed constitutional amendments that would change the constitutional amendment process itself, including Bakk's plan to require a three-fifths legislative vote, the AP reports. Another proposal would require a two-thirds vote.

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