Tuesday morning, a Hennepin County, MN, judge tossed the initially approved language by the Minneapolis City Council to be on the November ballot regarding the public safety charter amendment.
The city council reconvened to set new language Tuesday afternoon. An emergency meeting was held by councilmembers at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday was the deadline for the ballot language. The meeting concluded with the city council passing new language 12-1, KTSP reports.
The revised ballot language reads as follows:
"Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include li-censed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?"
Voters would then select a "Yes" or "No" option. The explanatory note reads as follows:
"This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum finding requirement would be eliminated."
District Court Judge Jamie L. Anderson noted that the original language was "vague, ambiguous" and "unreasonable and misleading." The judge also wrote that it would amount to "substantial harm" if the ballot question were put off to a future election.
The original question was worded as follows:
"Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety which could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, with administrative authority to be consistent with other city departments to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety?"