May 3, 2021 - News

Move to disband Minneapolis Police one step closer to November ballot

Illustration of a police badge, with yellow and black stripes overlaid on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Backers of a proposed charter amendment to disband the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new public safety division are one step closer to getting their proposal on the ballot this November.

What's happening: The "Yes 4 Minneapolis" campaign submitted more than 20,000 voter signatures to the city Friday — at least 8,000 more than the 11,906 needed to qualify for the November ballot.

The details: In addition to creating the new department, the charter amendment would remove the city's current population-based mandatory minimum for sworn police officers.

  • Power to direct the city's public safety division would shift from the mayor to the 13-member City Council.

What's next: City officials will review the petitions to ensure enough signatures are valid to hit the required threshold. The submission also triggers a number of administrative steps:

  1. The Charter Commission will meet this week to accept the petitions.
  2. The City Council will get to work with the city attorney on preparing the actual language voters will encounter on the ballot.
  3. Once approved by the City Council, Mayor Jacob Frey decides whether to sign or veto the language. Frey can't nix the proposal, just the language itself.

The timeline: All the above steps much be completed by late August.

The bottom line: Assuming it clears the necessary hurdles, the public safety amendment will be one of a number of consequential measures up for a vote this November.

  • The Charter Commission has already approved its own proposal to give the mayor more power in city government.
  • Two rent control measure are also in the works.

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