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Minneapolis city attorney says council should block $15 minimum wage vote


Workers’ groups hoping to make Minneapolis’ minimum wage one of the highest in the country hit a major obstacle Thursday as the city’s lawyer said the advocates’ ballot petition does not meet legal requirements.

In a 16-page written opinion, City Attorney Susan Segal said the petition to let voters decide if the city should amend its charter to set a $15-an-hour minimum wage does not fit into the narrow window of city government issues that can be altered by a popular vote. Minneapolis’ charter does not allow for direct citizen input to pass city ordinances. Residents can vote only on proposals to amend the charter, a document that outlines the general functions of municipal government.

Calling the proposal “an ordinance disguised as a charter amendment,” Segal noted that it “does not in any way relate to the form, structure or distribution of powers within the municipal enterprise.” She cited a 2005 case that involved a petition to amend Minneapolis’ charter to allow the use of medical marijuana, where the court upheld the council’s decision to block the matter from the ballot on legal grounds.


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