Minneapolis Charter Commission
The city charter is the constitution of the City of Minneapolis. Legally, it is a delegation of a portion of the State’s central governing authority exercised at the local level. The city charter fulfills many purposes; among these are:
- It defines the powers and authority of the City, granted by the people.
- It prescribes the City’s operating structure and its officers, including their number, qualifications, manner of selection, terms, and duties.
- It specifies the processes by which official acts and decisions are made, implemented, and enforced.
- It establishes the lines of authority over the administrative departments that deliver municipal services and programs to the community and its residents.
The Minneapolis Charter Commission is analogous to a standing constitutional convention: it is the state agency that exercises primary oversight of the city charter. Its 15 members are appointed by the district court, acting through its chief judge, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 410.05. The Charter Commission meets each month, and those meetings are open to the public.
About the City Charter
Minnesota was the fourth state in the U.S. to permit “home rule” through a constitutional amendment approved in 1896. That amendment allowed citizens to create municipal governments separate from the standard plans established under state law. Essentially, a home rule charter served as a constitution for a local government: through it, a community establishes and maintains a municipal corporation to provide for the common health, safety, and welfare of its people.
Several early attempts to establish a home rule charter in Minneapolis failed, despite its rapid growth. Finally, in 1920, the matter was resolved by the State Legislature when it codified the general statutes applicable to first class cities as well as all special laws specific to the City of Minneapolis at that time into the City’s first home rule charter. That charter remained in effect—through multiple amendments—until 2013, when a complete revision, including the incorporation of plain language principles, was adopted by voters. The Plain Language Revision of the Minneapolis City Charter, adopted in 2013, became effective January 1, 2015.
Last updated Nov 5, 2018