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Editorial: Don't let politics alter the Minnesota constitution

Constitutions are all about overall guiding principles for government; they offer big-picture framework to help make sure our rulers don't trample our personal rights and liberties.

And they shouldn't be changed lightly, as we opined in October while arguing against a pair of proposed constitutional amendments that were as inappropriate a way to change state law as they were politically motivated.

Those sentiments haven't changed. So news on Thursday that Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, wants to make it tougher for lawmakers to place constitutional amendments onto statewide ballots was welcome news. Bakk, the Senate majority leader, introduced a bill requiring three-fifths of the Legislature to agree to any public vote that would alter the state constitution.

Requiring an overwhelming majority would protect the constitution by decreasing the likelihood of one party being able to ram through a politically minded pet issue. The majority would all but assure bipartisan legislative support for any proposed constitutional alteration.

"Just last fall, Minnesotans saw how costly, inefficient, and ugly it gets when a simple majority in the Legislature can get around the governor and attempt to legislate through constitutional amendments," Bakk said Thursday in a statement. "A change to our constitution ought to have broad bipartisan support."

In other words, no change to the constitution should ever be made lightly. And Bakk's measure promises to go a long way toward helping make sure.

Duluth News Tribune