The undead judicial election reform bill that looked to be rising from the grave last week apparently will stay dead.
Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, author of HF 224, was scheduled to get his constitutional amendment heard Monday morning in the House Civil Justice Committee chaired by Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis.
But an e-mail sent out Sunday night by Patrick Baldwin, committee administrator, said the bill had been pulled “at the request of the author” and “the provisions of HF 224 will not be taken up by any committee or body of the legislature this session.”
The bill would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall asking voters if the state should replace the current competitive judicial election system with one proposed by a group of reform proponents concerned about the potential for rising partisan involvement and campaign spending in judicial elections.
If approved, governors would appoint judges and they would be subject to retention elections, where the question would simply be whether they should be returned to the bench or not. If voters said no, the governor would make another appointment.
It was stalled because Mullery wouldn’t give the bill a hearing and it had missed committee deadlines. But following pressure from DFL legislative leaders, Mullery had put the bill on the committee schedule and all systems looked go for Monday’s hearing.
I’ve got a call in to Simon and Mullery to see if either one will comment on why the bill is dead again.