Civics 101: What Does Our Minnesota Governor Do?

In the primaries and elections of 2022, Minnesotans will be voting for key roles in state and local governments. Here’s a primer on who we vote for and how they serve the citizens of Minnesota:

State Seal of Minnesota

The Governor of Minnesota is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Minnesota. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

Minnesota’s governor is the commander-in-chief of the state’s militia and naval forces and is charged with upholding and seeing to the faithful execution of all laws. Along with the Attorney General of Minnesota and the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the governor sits on the state Board of Pardons. However, the power of pardon does not extend to cases of impeachment.

Other duties and privileges of the office include: Requesting written opinions from any executive officer on any matter relating to that officer’s duties, Making appointments (with the advice and consent of the Senate, when the offices of the Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, and other state and district offices not otherwise provided for by law become vacant), Appointing Commissioners, Appointing notaries public.

Similar to the U.S. President, the governor has veto power over bills passed by the Minnesota State Legislature. As in most states, but unlike the U.S. President, the governor can also make line-item vetoes, where specific provisions in bills can be stripped out while allowing the overall bill to be signed into law.

The governor of Minnesota must be 25 years old upon assuming office, and must have been a Minnesota resident for one year before the election. Since a 1958 amendment to the Minnesota Constitution governors are elected to four-year terms, with no limits on the number of terms they may serve.

Executive Responsibilities:
Administer laws and affairs of the state, appoint heads for departments and agencies, and act as commander-in-chief of state military forces.

Legislative Responsibilities:
Inform legislature of condition of the state, propose a state budget, approve or veto bills passed by the legislature and call emergency legislative sessions.

Judicial Responsibilities:
Appoint judges to vacancies in district, appellate, and supreme courts.

Sources: www.runforoffice.org, ballotpedia.org/Governor_of_Minnesota, and https://www.sos.state.mn.us/about-minnesota/minnesota-government/