We like to partner with different organizations and present complicated or contentious ideas in a fun format. The League of Women Voters Minneapolis chapter approached us about doing a show surrounding the amendments that are on the ballot this November, like this one or that one. We’ll be talking with Lori Sturdevant of the Star Tribune. Originally, there were six amendments that were proposed by the Minnesota GOP this year, but only two have survived. Putting aside the actual content, what does this process say about our policy makers as well as our government process?
One issue that many have raised about the process is whether it’s a practice of good government? When we elect representatives to the legislature, we intend for them to attend some town hall meetings, kiss some babies, and pass some laws. Inserting an amendment into the state constitution is dependent on a majority vote from the public. When we elect people to office, it’s so that our day to day lives aren’t filled with this type of sausage making. However, whereas most laws are written on paper, every now and then we need the hammer and chisel to leave an impression in stone. That’s understandable, but are these issues stone/sausage worthy?
Our show with the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network (YNPN) in January was intended to focus on the issues and ideas facing non-profits over the next year, but much of the conversation centered on the amendments. We spoke with Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and she felt that the amendments would largely act as a distraction for non-profits during the coming year. Their focus on supporting or defeating these constitutional changes would sap resources and attention from furthering their missions. Additionally, one of our other guests opined that it is a political strategy by the MN GOP in order to get the DFL to use up all of their political capital and energies fighting these amendments. While that may be a cynical point of view, it may succeed. Is this politics as usual now? We certainly don’t want to characterize these amendments as distractions. Both sides are passionate about these issues and their outcomes will affect hundreds of thousands of people. How can people and organizations keep from feeling drained about this?
We hope to explore these questions and more with the League of Women Voters at Huge Theater, July 17th at 7pm. What do you know about constitutional amendments? When should they be used by legislators to get things done in St. Paul? Come enjoy the 80-minute improv performance and voice (or form) your opinion. And learn a little something, too.