ST. PAUL -- Gov. Jesse Ventura pleaded Friday with Minnesotans to pipe up on the unicameral issue like they did during the 1997 stadium debate.
''Apathetic public, wake up!'' Ventura said on his weekly radio show, on which House Speaker Steve Sviggum made a similar pitch. ''Because if you have apathy and you don't care, why should we?
''You belly-ache about (government) during campaigns every year. You belly-ache about it when there's elections. Now you have an opportunity to take an active role in determining what government will be.''
Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment for a unicameral Legislature say they are not compelled to put the plan on the November ballot because there is little public demand for it.
In a 1997 special session, voters jammed the Capitol phone system to oppose a bill for a new baseball stadium. The intense reaction factored into the plan's demise.
Ventura's plea, which came a day after the bill suffered a setback, didn't prompt an immediate flood of calls. Several legislative aides reported that a few calls trickled in, but nothing out of the ordinary.
House State Government Finance Chairman Phil Krinkie said he received only a couple of calls and letters on the unicameral bill prior to Thursday, when his committee defeated it on a 5-5 vote. An attempt by supporters to revive it on the House floor was abandoned.
By 1 p.m. Friday, about 30 people called or e-mailed Krinkie, fewer than the responses he received on bills to change the Profile of Learning. Only one unicameral call came from the Shoreview Republican's district, said legislative assistant Kathy Heimel.
Callers to Ventura's show were split on whether the unicameral proposal should be put to a statewide vote.
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