fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

MN Supreme Court Rules Bloomington Disenfranchised Voters on Trash Petition

Bloomington taxpayers just proved–again–that you can fight city hall, even if it takes years and means going all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The state high court ruled this week the city of Bloomington effectively disenfranchised thousands of residents by rejecting their petition in 2016 to put a ballot measure before voters over whether to implement organized trash collection.

“The significance is people still have rights against their city government. This means that people’s rights don’t just get trampled,” said attorney Greg Joseph, who represented residents pro bono. “This reminds rogue city governments that you have to honor the law. It may be inconvenient, but you’ve got to do  it.”

The Bloomington city clerk ruled the petition submitted by the grassroots group Hands Off Our  Cans met the legal criteria. But acting on the advice of City Attorney Sandra Johnson, then Mayor Gene Winstead and the Bloomington City Council nevertheless refused to put the issue on the ballot in November 2016. City Hall proceeded instead to impose a system called organized garbage collection, eliminating competition between providers and choice for residents.

A news release from Hands Off Our Cans underscores the implications for local governments of the court’s ruling.

The City Charter in Bloomington reserves for voters the broad powers of Initiative, Referendum, and Charter Amendment power. The Court found that the ballot measure was a valid expression of citizen legislative power, and that the City Council’s refusal to place it on the November ballot was not a proper exercise of its authority. The Bloomington Charter reserves for its people broad power to enact and change legislation, the majority held.

The decision marks the second victory for the grassroots activists over the city on the issue before the Minnesota Supreme Court.  In a unanimous 2018 ruling the court upheld the right of residents of  home rule charter cities to place legislation on the ballot for citizens to vote on.

RELATED: MN High Court Rules for Citizens Fighting Bloomington on Garbage

Bloomington has not yet responded to the latest legal loss. But it could lead to city hall  finally putting the controversial issue before voters,  according to Hands Off Our Cans.

The ruling means that the Charter Amendment, which will give the voters the power to choose their preferred system of trash collection in the City, must be placed on the ballot, at which time the voters can make their voices heard.

The Minnesota Supreme Court justices did not order Bloomington to put the issue on the ballot this fall. But the plaintiffs insist it’s time for city hall to honor the law and give citizens their say in a vote that’s years overdue.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota: St. Cloud

    Location: St. Cloud

    Sign up HERE! Courtyard by Marriott St. Cloud 404 West Saint Germain Street St. Cloud, MN, 56301 Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, July 21 for breakfast with Center policy fellow and education expert Catrin Wigfall as she explains K-12 education in the state and its persistent disparities despite decades of increased spending. Following her presentation, Catrin will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude   Catrin Wigfall is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. She is also the director of EducatedTeachersMN and EmployeeFreedomMN. Catrin’s…

    Register Now
  • Kristi Noem: The Courage to Reject a Shutdown

    Location: Online

    Sign up HERE! Join us Wednesday, July 8th for an interview with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem over Zoom. In response to COVID-19, Noem defied the norm of a statewide shutdown and let South Dakotans choose for themselves what safety precautions to take. Tune in to this live online event to hear how Governor Noem preserved her state’s economy while still keeping citizens safe. Wednesday, July 8th at Noon CT Sign up HERE!  

    Register Now
  • Morning in Minnesota: Marshall

    Location: Marshall Golf Club

      Sign up for this event HERE! Please join Center of the American Experiment on Thursday, July 16 at Marshall Golf Club for a breakfast with Center economist, John Phelan, as he discusses Minnesota’s economic future. Following his presentation, John will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude John Phelan is a graduate of Birkbeck College, University of London, where he earned a BSc in Economics, and of the London School of Economics where he earned an MSc. He worked in finance for ten years before becoming a professional economist. He…

    Register Now