It's constitutional amendment week at the State Capitol.

This week, Republican lawmakers introduced amendments to ban gay marriage and require photo identification when voting. Thursday, House members introduced a measure to ask voters another question:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require a three-fifths vote of each house of the legislature to pass a law that increases state income, state sales, or property taxes?"

That measure, like the gay marriage and photo id measures, has powerful backing from both the Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and Majority Leader Matt Dean.

The gay marriage and photo id amendments have been fast-tracked.

In the Senate, the marriage amendment was introduced Tuesday and has a hearing on Friday. The amendment was introduced Thursday in the House. It hasn't yet been scheduled for a hearing in the House.

In the House, the photo id amendment was introduced Wednesday and also has a hearing Friday.

The photo id amendment runs parallel to a legislative move to require identification at the polls. That measure passed the full Senate Thursday.

A little review of the path a constitutional amendment must go through:

  • A majority of the Legislature must approve. It require no signature from the governor.
  • It must appear on a general election ballot. That would mean 2012 for these amendments if they get that far.
  • A majority of those voting in the general election must vote for the amendment. Those voting in the election but not voting on the amendment are counted as "No" votes.