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Bill makes it harder to pass amendments

ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota Senate committee Monday approved two similar bills to make it more difficult to send proposed constitutional amendments to the public.

Current law requires a simple majority of legislators to approve a proposed amendment. The committee approved requiring 60 percent of each the House and Senate to approve, which then would hand the decision to voters on election day.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said that it has become too easy to pass amendments, although two did fail two years ago.

"We have to put some safeguards into place," he said.

Bakk said that with most amendments in recent years, the only campaign was waged by the side that backed the proposal.

“If public hears only one side of the story, then at the minimum can we at least make it harder in the Legislature?” he asked.

Sen. David Thompson, R-Lakeville, said he favored the 60 percent mark for passage instead of the two-thirds figure that some supported.

“With 60 percent, it is going to be much more difficult, but two-thirds is virtually impossible,” Thompson said about passing amendments.

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