Penalty Petition

Ordinance 19-18

Ordinance 19-18 was withdrawn by the city council at its May 8, 2019, meeting.  As a consequence, this petition is no longer circulating.  The content found below is maintained now solely for historic purposes.

Dangers Posed by Ordinance 19-18

The St. Paul City Council is in the process of passing ordinance 19-18, in order to grant the City Council exceedingly broad powers to enact and enforce penalties.

If enacted, this ordinance would amend Chapter 6 of our City Charter (our City constitution) to enable the Council to impose an unlimited range of fines and penalties for any conduct that could be deemed to violate any City ordinance.

We oppose this charter amendment, due to its great potential for abuse.

Minn. Stat. § 410.12 governs the process by which our City Charter is amended.  This same statute provides two ways to halt the council’s attempt to enlarge its penalty power.

Request the Council to Vote against Ord 19-18

First, if any member of the council votes against this ordinance, the ordinance will not pass.  Charter amendments via ordinance require the council’s unanimous approval.

Initially, the City Council was scheduled to vote on Ord 19-18 at its April 24, 2019, meeting.  At that time, the council could not get the seven votes it needed to pass this ordinance.  As a consequence, the council rescheduled its vote for Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Since this ordinance will fail if just one council member votes against it, we urge you to contact your city council ward member.  Let him or her know that you oppose Ord 19-18.

If you are not sure who represents your ward, you can find that information on the city’s website.   Scroll down to click the blue “District Council and City Ward Lookup” button located beneath the picture of the city council, on the left side of this page. Then enter your residential address into the search box found in the upper left corner of the city map.  The response should identify your ward and your city council representative.

We recommend that when you contact your city council representative, you should confirm your communication with an email.  You will find contact information for your ward’s council member at that same page.

Petition for Referendum on Ordinance 19-18

Even if the City Council votes unanimously in favor of this ordinance, we can still defeat the ordinance with a majority vote of the electorate.  This requires a referendum.  The requirements for this petition process are also set forth in Minn. Stat. § 410.12, at Subd. 7.  A charter amendment petition requires the signatures of 2000 registered St. Paul voters.

This referendum petition to require a citizen vote on the City Council’s “penalty power,” is available for download.

For information on current signing locations where you can find a hard copy of this petition, visit:  Penalty Petition Signups.