MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis City Council has voted to override Mayor Jacob Frey’s latest veto of the public safety charter amendment ballot language, after coming up with new ballot language hours before the deadline.
The city council approved by a vote of 9-4 the following ballot language:
“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?”
The Minneapolis City Council were faced with rewriting and passing new ballot language with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Within hours of approving the new ballot language, Mayor Frey once again vetoed it, saying it had a “lack of basic transparency.”
“We have an obligation to voters to tell them their consequences of their vote is,” Frey said. “It would remove the position of chief of police. It would get rid of requirement to fund police and finally it would change the reporting structure so that the head of public safety would have to report to 14 different people, the mayor and city council.”
The city council met once again at 6:15 p.m. and voted to override the veto.
JaNaé Bates, the communications director for Yes 4 Minneapolis, said the decision to override the veto and get the proposal on the ballot was a long time coming.
Yes 4 Minneapolis is the political action committee behind the proposal to amend the city charter to replace the police department with a department of public safety. Bates said what Frey wanted to include in the ballot language will only cause confusion among voters. She trusts voters will do their research.
“It’s frustrating because that notion is deceptive and that’s exactly why it should not be in the ballot,” Bates said.
The full page of language, including the explanatory note, is one of three charter amendments that could be on the Minneapolis ballot, meaning it could take Minneapolis voters awhile to cast their ballots this November.
Supporters of the movement to defund the police praised the amendment, saying it meets the standard in the petition that got the measure on the ballot.
“Twenty-thousand people signed a petition saying they want to create change,” council member Steve Fletcher said.
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