History of the City Charter
Minnesota was the fourth state in the U.S. to permit “home rule” through a constitutional amendment approved in 1896. That amendment allowed citizens to create City governments separate from the standard plans established under state law. Essentially, a home rule charter served as a constitution for a local government. It allows a community to establish and maintain a municipal corporation to provide for the common health, safety, and welfare of its people.
Several early attempts to establish a home rule charter in Minneapolis failed, despite its rapid growth. Finally, in 1920, the matter was resolved by the State Legislature when it codified the general statutes applicable to first class cities as well as all special laws specific to the City of Minneapolis at that time into the City’s first home rule charter. That charter remained in effect—through multiple amendments—until 2013, when a complete revision, including the incorporation of plain language principles, was adopted by voters. The Plain Language Revision of the Minneapolis City Charter, adopted in 2013, became effective January 1, 2015.