Minnesota’s highest court will decide if two proposed Minneapolis charter amendments will be on the ballot in November. One amendment calls for raising the minimum wage; the other proposes using higher insurance premiums as a way to reduce police misconduct.
Late today, the court agreed to hear the police liability insurance amendment case. Hennepin County District Court Judge Susan Robiner had ruled the amendment could not go on the ballot because it conflicted with existing state law, something supporters says it does not. Oral arguments in the case are expected early next week.
The court will also hear an appeal from the City of Minneapolis on the minimum wage issue. Judge Robiner had ruled it was an appropriate topic for a charter amendment. The Minneapolis City Council had refused to put it on the ballot based on the advice of the city attorney, who said it was an ordinance disguised as a charter amendment. Minneapolis’ charter says only the city council may pass ordinances. Oral arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30.
The charter amendment would gradually raise the minimum wage for large businesses to $15 an hour by the year 2020. For businesses with less than 500 employees, the minimum wage wouldn’t hit $15 an hour until 2022.
The court is moving quickly because of looming election deadlines. Friday, August 26, is the deadline for Hennepin County to put the amendments on the ballot. The group promoting the police insurance amendment says Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms told them a ruling by September 2 would still allow their amendment a spot on the November 8 ballot.
Early voting starts on September 23.