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Difference between revisions of "Minnesota Constitution"

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==History==
 
==History==
An election in the Minnesota Territory to select [[Republican]] and [[Democratic]] delegates to a state [[constitutional convention]] was held on June 1, 1857, following passage of an enabling act by the [[U.S. Congress]] on February 26, 1857 ''("The Enabling Act for a State of Minnesota")''. The convention was held in [[Saint Paul, Minnesota|Saint Paul]] from July 13 to August 29, 1857. However, the divisions between the two political parties were so great that they each held their own separate conventions and never met together, aside from five people from each party who met in a conference committee to create a document acceptable to both sides. Still, the tension was so extreme that delegates would not sign anything that had previously been signed by a member of the complementary convention.<ref name="sos"/>
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When [[Republican]] and [[Democrat|Democratic]] delegates to Minnesota's first [[constitutional convention]] met in [[St. Paul, Minnesota]] to draft a constitution, they refused to meet in the same convention. The parties separated into different rooms and held their own sessions, and the two groups never fully met together. Instead, they sent conferees to a smaller session who were in charge of drafting a constitution that both parties could agree on. However, there was still such dispute between the parties that they refused to sign a document the other party members signed, and thus two copies were made, one for each party to sign. The final document was sent to the people to vote on October 13, 1857, and they overwhelmingly approved it, 30,055 to 571.<ref name="sos">[http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=252 ''Minnesota Secretary of State'', "SOS Notes on Historical Documents", accessed March 28, 2014]</ref>
  
In the end, each convention signed their own copies of the document. The two were essentially identical but had about 300 differences in punctuation, grammar and wording because of errors in transcription produced as copyists worked late into the night on August 28, 1857. The Republican version, written on white paper, ran 39 pages and was signed by 53 delegates, while the Democratic version, written on blue-tinged paper, was 37 pages long and had 51 signatures.
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In 1971, the [[Minnesota State Legislature]] established a constitutional study commission. After studying the state's 1857 constitution, the commission recommended it be restructured for easy reference and rewritten in modern language. An amendment to do exactly that was passed by both the [[Minnesota State Senate]] and the [[Minnesota House of Representatives]]. It was then signed by the [[Governor of Minnesota|governor]] and ratified by voters on November 5, 1974.<ref name="sos"/>
 
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The Minnesota Constitution was initially approved by the residents of Minnesota Territory in a special election held on October 13, 1857 (30,055 votes for acceptance and 571 votes for rejection), and was ratified by the [[United States Senate]] on May 11, 1858, marking the admittance of [[Minnesota]] to the Union.  Nearly 120 amendments have been approved (often multiple items at once), with perhaps the most significant being a reorganization in 1974 to simplify the document, making it easier for modern readers to comprehend and reducing the extensive verbiage. It is believed that the constitution was even amended twice prior to ratification.<ref name="sos"/>
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The first two acts created by the legislature were amendments to the constitution, and they were approved by voters on April 15, 1858.  One authorized a loan to railroads of $5 million, and the other related to the term of office of the first state officers.  Amended constitutions were apparently the ones viewed by Congress during the ratification process.  The validity of the early laws passed by the Legislature is somewhat in doubt, although they have never been challenged in court.<ref name="sos">[http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=252 ''Minnesota SOS'', "SOS Notes on Historical Documents", accessed March 28, 2014]</ref>
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===1974 alteration===
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In 1971, the legislature created a commission to study the constitution and make recommendations to maintain its utility. After reviewing the document for two years, it was recommended that the constitution be amended to rewrite it in modern language and allow easier reference.  The amendment was approved by voters on November 5, 1974.  This did not alter the meaning of the constitution, although if there is a case where meaning is ambiguous, the original document remains the final authority.<ref name="sos"/>
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The earlier wording of the constitution, including all of the amendments approved since adoption in 1857, is printed in the ''[http://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/sessions/electionresults/1972-09-12-p-man.pdf Minnesota Legislative Manual 1973&ndash;74]'', pages 445&ndash;484.
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==See also==
 
==See also==

Revision as of 14:15, 18 June 2014

Minnesota Constitution
Seal of Minnesota.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIV
The Constitution of the State of Minnesota is a state constitution and the fundamental governing document of the state of Minnesota.

Features

The Minnesota Constitution was adopted on October 13, 1857 and generally revised on November 5, 1974.[1]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the constitution states:

We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution."[1]

Article I

Article I of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Bill of Rights" and consists of 17 sections.

Article II

Article II of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Name and Boundaries" and consists of two sections.

Article III

Article III of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Distribution of the Powers of Government" and consists of one section.

Article IV

Article IV of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Legislative Department" and consists of 26 sections.

Article V

Article V of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Executive Department" and consists of seven sections.

Article VI

Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Judiciary" and consists of 13 sections.

Article VII

Article VII of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Public Highway System" and consists of nine sections.

Article VIII

Article VIII of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Impeachment and Removal from Office" and consists of six sections.

Article IX

Article IX of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Amendments to the Constitution and consists of three sections.

Article X

Article X of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Taxation" and consists of eight sections.

Article XI

Article XI of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Appropriations and Finances" and consists of 15 sections.

Article XII

Article XII of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Special Legislation; Local Government" and consists of five sections.

Article XIII

Article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous Subjects" and consists of 12 sections.

Article XIV

Article XIV of the Minnesota Constitution is entitled "Public Highway System" and consists of 13 sections.

Amending the constitution

See also: Article IX, Minnesota Constitution and Amending state constitutions

The Minnesota Constitution can be amended via two different paths:

  • Through a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment as established in Section 1 of Article IX. These can be proposed in either chamber of the Minnesota State Legislature. Proposed amendments must be agreed to by a majority of the members of each chamber of the legislature. Elections on proposed constitutional amendments can only occur on a general election date. Proposed amendments on different subjects must be split into more than one proposed amendment.
  • Through a constitutional convention as established in Section 3 of Article IX. For a constitutional convention question to go on the Minnesota ballot, two-thirds of the members of each chamber of the Minnesota legislature must vote in favor. Any amendments that are proposed by a constitutional convention must go before the state's voters and there, must be approved by a 60 percent supermajority vote.
  • A unique feature of Minnesota's law is that it takes a higher percentage vote (60 percent) to approve amendments proposed by a constitutional convention than amendments proposed by the legislature.

History

When Republican and Democratic delegates to Minnesota's first constitutional convention met in St. Paul, Minnesota to draft a constitution, they refused to meet in the same convention. The parties separated into different rooms and held their own sessions, and the two groups never fully met together. Instead, they sent conferees to a smaller session who were in charge of drafting a constitution that both parties could agree on. However, there was still such dispute between the parties that they refused to sign a document the other party members signed, and thus two copies were made, one for each party to sign. The final document was sent to the people to vote on October 13, 1857, and they overwhelmingly approved it, 30,055 to 571.[2]

In 1971, the Minnesota State Legislature established a constitutional study commission. After studying the state's 1857 constitution, the commission recommended it be restructured for easy reference and rewritten in modern language. An amendment to do exactly that was passed by both the Minnesota State Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives. It was then signed by the governor and ratified by voters on November 5, 1974.[2]

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References