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1996 Minnesota Session Laws

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                            CHAPTER 469-H.F.No. 343 
                  An act proposing an amendment to the Minnesota 
                  Constitution, article VIII, by adding a section; 
                  providing for recall of elected state officers; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 200.01; 
                  proposing coding for new law as Minnesota Statutes, 
                  chapter 211C. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
                                   ARTICLE 1
           Section 1.  [CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.] 
           An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, amending 
        article VIII by adding a section, is proposed to the people.  If 
        the amendment to article VIII is adopted, the new section will 
        read: 
           Sec. 6.  A member of the senate or the house of 
        representatives, an executive officer of the state identified in 
        section 1 of article V of the constitution, or a judge of the 
        supreme court, the court of appeals, or a district court is 
        subject to recall from office by the voters.  The grounds for 
        recall of a judge shall be established by the supreme court.  
        The grounds for recall of an officer other than a judge are 
        serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during the term of office in 
        the performance of the duties of the office or conviction during 
        the term of office of a serious crime.  A petition for recall 
        must set forth the specific conduct that may warrant recall.  A 
        petition may not be issued until the supreme court has 
        determined that the facts alleged in the petition are true and 
        are sufficient grounds for issuing a recall petition.  A 
        petition must be signed by a number of eligible voters who 
        reside in the district where the officer serves and who number 
        not less than 25 percent of the number of votes cast for the 
        office at the most recent general election.  Upon a 
        determination by the secretary of state that a petition has been 
        signed by at least the minimum number of eligible voters, a 
        recall election must be conducted in the manner provided by 
        law.  A recall election may not occur less than six months 
        before the end of the officer's term.  An officer who is removed 
        from office by a recall election or who resigns from office 
        after a petition for recall issues may not be appointed to fill 
        the vacancy that is created. 
           Sec. 2.  [SCHEDULE AND QUESTION.] 
           The amendment shall be submitted to the people at the 1996 
        general election.  The question submitted must be: 
           "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide for 
        recall of elected state officers for wrongdoing? 
                                           Yes .......
                                           No ........"
                                   ARTICLE 2
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 200.01, is 
        amended to read: 
           200.01 [CITATION, MINNESOTA ELECTION LAW.] 
           This chapter and chapters 201, 202A, 203B, 204B, 204C, 
        204D, 205, 205A, 206, 208, 209, 211A, and 211B, and 211C shall 
        be known as the Minnesota election law. 
           Sec. 2.  [211C.01] [DEFINITIONS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [APPLICATION.] The definitions in this 
        section and in chapter 200 apply to this chapter. 
           Subd. 2.  [MALFEASANCE.] "Malfeasance" means the 
        intentional commission of an unlawful or wrongful act by a state 
        officer other than a judge in the performance of the officer's 
        duties that is substantially outside the scope of the authority 
        of the officer and that substantially infringes on the rights of 
        any person or entity. 
           Subd. 3.  [NONFEASANCE.] "Nonfeasance" means the 
        intentional, repeated failure of a state officer other than a 
        judge to perform specific acts that are required duties of the 
        officer. 
           Subd. 4.  [SERIOUS CRIME.] (a) "Serious crime" means a 
        crime that is punished as a gross misdemeanor, as defined in 
        section 609.02, and that involves assault, intentional injury or 
        threat of injury to person or public safety, dishonesty, 
        stalking, aggravated driving while intoxicated, coercion, 
        obstruction of justice, or the sale or possession of controlled 
        substances. 
           (b) "Serious crime" also means a crime that is punished as 
        a misdemeanor, as defined in section 609.02, and that involves 
        assault, intentional injury or threat of injury to person or 
        public safety, dishonesty, coercion, obstruction of justice, or 
        the sale or possession of controlled substances. 
           Subd. 5.  [STATE OFFICER.] "State officer" means an 
        individual occupying an office subject to recall under the 
        Minnesota Constitution, article VIII, section 6. 
           Sec. 3.  [211C.02] [GROUNDS.] 
           The grounds for recall of a judge shall be established by 
        the supreme court.  A state officer other than a judge may be 
        subject to recall for serious malfeasance or nonfeasance during 
        the term of office in the performance of the duties of the 
        office or conviction during the term of office for a serious 
        crime. 
           Sec. 4.  [211C.03] [PETITION FOR RECALL; FORM AND CONTENT.] 
           The secretary of state shall prescribe by rule the form 
        required for a recall petition.  Each page of the petition must 
        contain the following information: 
           (1) the name and office held by the state officer who is 
        the subject of the recall petition and, in the case of a 
        representative, senator, or district judge, the district number 
        in which the state officer serves; 
           (2) the specific grounds upon which the state officer is 
        sought to be recalled and a concise, accurate, and complete 
        synopsis of the specific facts that are alleged to warrant 
        recall on those grounds; 
           (3) a statement that a recall election, if conducted, will 
        be conducted at public expense; 
           (4) a statement that persons signing the petition: 
           (i) must be eligible voters residing within the district 
        where the state officer serves or, in the case of a statewide 
        officer, within the state; 
           (ii) must know the purpose and content of the petition; and 
           (iii) must sign of their own free will and may sign only 
        once; and 
           (5) a space for the signature and signature date; printed 
        first, middle, and last name; residence address, including 
        municipality and county; and date of birth of each signer. 
           The secretary of state shall make available sample recall 
        petition forms upon request. 
           Sec. 5.  [211C.04] [PROPOSED PETITION; SUBMITTAL.] 
           A petition to recall a state officer may be proposed by 25 
        or more persons, who must be eligible to sign and shall sign the 
        proposed petition for the recall of the officer.  The persons 
        submitting the petition must designate in writing no more than 
        three individuals among them to represent all petitioners in 
        matters relating to the recall.  The proposed petition must be 
        submitted to the secretary of state in the manner and form 
        required by the secretary of state and be accompanied by a fee 
        of $100.  After the secretary of state issues a petition to 
        recall a state officer under section 211C.06, the secretary of 
        state may not accept a proposed petition to recall the same 
        officer until either the earlier petition is dismissed by the 
        secretary of state for a deficiency of signatures under section 
        211C.06, or the recall election brought about by the earlier 
        petition results in the officer retaining the office.  Upon 
        receiving a proposed petition that satisfies the requirements of 
        this section, the secretary of state shall immediately notify in 
        writing the state officer named and forward the proposed 
        petition to the clerk of the appellate courts for action under 
        section 211C.05. 
           Sec. 6.  [211C.05] [SUPREME COURT REVIEW OF PROPOSED 
        PETITION.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [ASSIGNMENT FOR HEARING.] Upon receiving a 
        proposed petition from the secretary of state, the clerk of the 
        appellate courts shall submit it immediately to the chief 
        justice of the supreme court, or, if the chief justice is the 
        subject of the proposed petition, to the most senior associate 
        justice of the supreme court.  The persons proposing the 
        petition shall provide to the reviewing judge any materials 
        supporting the petition.  The officer who is named in the 
        proposed petition may submit materials in opposition.  The 
        justice, or a designee if the justice has a conflict of interest 
        or is unable to conduct the review in a timely manner, shall 
        review the proposed petition to determine whether it alleges 
        specific facts that, if proven, would constitute grounds for 
        recall of the officer under the Minnesota Constitution, article 
        VIII, section 6, and section 211C.02.  If it does not, the 
        justice shall immediately issue an order dismissing the petition 
        and indicating the reason for dismissal.  If the proposed 
        petition does allege specific facts that, if proven, would 
        constitute grounds for recall, the justice shall assign the case 
        to a special master for a public hearing.  The special master 
        must be an active or retired judge.  The justice shall complete 
        the review under this section and dismiss the proposed petition 
        or assign the case for hearing within ten days. 
           Subd. 2.  [HEARING; REPORT.] A public hearing on the 
        allegations of a proposed petition must be held within 21 days 
        after issuance of the order of the justice assigning the case to 
        a special master.  The special master shall report to the court 
        within seven days after the end of the public hearing.  In the 
        report, the special master shall determine: 
           (1) whether the persons proposing the petition have shown 
        by a preponderance of the evidence that the factual allegations 
        supporting the petition are true; and 
           (2) if so, whether the persons proposing the petition have 
        shown that the facts found to be true are sufficient grounds for 
        issuing a recall petition. 
           If the special master determines that these standards have 
        been met, the report must include a statement of the specific 
        facts and grounds for the recall petition. 
           Subd. 3.  [SUPREME COURT; DECISION.] The supreme court 
        shall review the report of the special master and make a 
        decision on the petition within 20 days.  If the court decides 
        that the standard expressed in subdivision 2 has not been met, 
        the court shall dismiss the petition.  If the court decides that 
        the standard for decision expressed in subdivision 2 has been 
        met, the court shall prescribe, by order to the secretary of 
        state, the statement of the specific facts and grounds that must 
        appear on the petition for recall issued under section 211C.06.  
        If the court dismisses a petition under this section because the 
        persons proposing the petition have acted in bad faith in 
        violation of section 211C.09, the court may assess the persons 
        proposing the petition for reasonable costs of conducting the 
        proceeding.  
           Sec. 7.  [211C.06] [ISSUING, CIRCULATING, AND VERIFYING 
        PETITION.] 
           Upon receipt of the order from the supreme court, the 
        secretary of state shall issue a recall petition.  When the 
        required number of signatures on the petition have been secured, 
        the petition may be filed with the secretary of state.  The 
        petition must be filed within 90 days after the date of 
        issuance.  Upon the filing of the petition, the secretary of 
        state shall verify the number and eligibility of signers in the 
        manner provided by the secretary of state.  If the secretary of 
        state determines that a petition has been signed by a sufficient 
        number of eligible voters, the secretary of state shall certify 
        the petition and immediately notify in writing the governor, the 
        petitioners, and the state officer named in the petition.  If 
        the petition is not signed by a sufficient number of eligible 
        voters, the secretary of state shall dismiss the petition. 
           Sec. 8.  [211C.07] [GOVERNOR; WRIT OF ELECTION; ELECTION.] 
           Within five days of receiving certification of a petition 
        under section 211C.06, the governor shall issue a writ calling 
        for a recall election, unless the election cannot be held before 
        the deadline specified in the Minnesota Constitution, article 
        VIII, section 6.  A recall election must be conducted, and the 
        results canvassed and returned, in the manner provided by law 
        for the state general election. 
           Sec. 9.  [211C.08] [ELECTION RESULT; REMOVAL FROM OFFICE.] 
           If a majority of the votes cast in a recall election favor 
        the removal of the state officer, upon certification of that 
        result the state officer is removed from office and the office 
        is vacant. 
           Sec. 10.  [211C.09] [RECALL PETITION; CORRUPT PRACTICES.] 
           A person proposing a petition may not allege any material 
        fact in support of the petition that the person knows is false 
        or has alleged with reckless disregard of whether it is false.  
        A person may not intentionally make any false entry on a 
        petition or aid, abet, counsel, or procure another to do so.  A 
        person may not use threat, intimidation, coercion, or other 
        corrupt means to interfere or attempt to interfere with the 
        right of any eligible voter to sign or not to sign a recall 
        petition of their own free will.  A person may not, for any 
        consideration, compensation, gift, reward, or thing of value or 
        promise thereof, sign or not sign a recall petition. 
           The supreme court may dismiss a proposed petition for 
        violation of this section.  Notwithstanding section 645.241, the 
        sole remedy for a violation of this section is dismissal of the 
        petition by the supreme court. 
           Sec. 11.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Article 2 is effective upon ratification of the 
        constitutional amendment in article 1. 
           Presented to the governor April 4, 1996 
           Signed by the governor April 12, 1996, 10:08 a.m.

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