Minneapolis Charter Commission wins tussle over ballot language

The Minneapolis Charter Commission and the City Attorney’s Office have settled their differences over a question that will appear on the ballot this November.

They agreed this week to ask voters:

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended in the form of a complete revision which (i) modernizes the Charter; (ii) redrafts its provisions for brevity and in plain language; (iii) reorganizes the Charter into nine articles and groups related provisions together; (iv) removes from the Charter certain provisions for possible enactment into ordinance; and (v) retains the current role and relationship of the City’s boards and commissions?

The question is shorter than the one Commission originally recommended, but says basically the same thing — kind of like the charter revision, itself.

The City Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, had pushed for a question that avoided any mention of the rationale for the revision. But it has obviously backed down from that position.

The commission and the City Attorney’s Office also agreed on the wording of a second question related to the liquor licensing provisions of the charter:

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter provisions relating to the sale of liquor and wine be amended by reorganizing and rewriting in plain modern language?

The overall charter revision needs a simple majority to pass, but state law requires 55 percent of voters to approve anything booze-related. So there’s a chance the first question could pass, while the second one fails. That would strip away the “doths” and “shalls” from the document while preserving words like and “spirituous” and “vinous.”

The City Council votes on the ballot language next week, and Charter Commission Chair Barry Clegg expects it will go along with the agreed upon wording.