A bill was heard this week that would propose a constitutional amendment on the next general election ballot to change how a vacancy of the lieutenant governor is handled. The governor would be authorized to appoint a new lieutenant governor with the advice and consent of the senate as opposed to the president of the senate automatically assuming the role.
This proposal is a response to the lieutenant governor vacancy that occurred when Governor Dayton appointed Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate in 2018. The Minnesota Constitution required the President of the Senate, Michelle Fischbach, to assume the role of Lieutenant Governor. Senator Fischbach resigned after the 2018 legislative session, serving as both Lieutenant Governor and state senator for several months, which was challenged in court but never fully adjudicated.
This bill would effectively resolve this situation by amending the state constitution and allowing the governor to appoint a new lieutenant governor with the advice and consent of the senate if a vacancy occurs. (S.F. 57)