Should Minnesota give citizens the ability to put measures on the ballot?

Is it time to let Minnesotans decide what constitutional amendments end up on the ballot?

Today, a bill was filed in the Minnesota House that would — if approved by voters — allow citizens to put measures on the ballot if they get enough signatures. It comes from Rep. King Banaian, R- St. Cloud, who also filed a bill a few weeks ago to make it harder for lawmakers to put constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The notion is known as “initiative and referendum.” The challenge for its supporters is explaining how it works.

Under the bill, a proposed law could be put to the voters if supporters get signatures from each congressional district, totaling at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the previous election.

The system could also be used to repeal a law via the same means. But if the law hasn’t gone into effect yet, it is suspended until voters get a chance to decide whether it should.

And amendment to the Minnesota constitution would require signatures totaling 8 percent of the previous gubernatorial election.

No more than three “laws” could be proposed on any ballot, a governor can’t veto a law voters approve, and a new law would take effect 30 days after the election.

The system exists in Washington state, where the governor recently signed a same-sex marriage bill. An opposition group immediately announced it intended to more than 120,577 voter signatures by June 6th to put the issue on November’s ballot.