In 1895, the legislature proposed a constitutional amendment to take pardoning power from the governor and to confer it on a pardon board (Laws of Minnesota 1895, chapter 2). The constitutional amendment passed with strong support in the 1896 general election and was codified in Laws of Minnesota 1897, chapter 23.
Laws of Minnesota 2023, chapter 52, article 8, section 3 made changes to the Board of Pardons and established a Clemency Review Commission. Beginning July 1, 2024, the Clemency Review Commission must begin reviewing applications for pardons, commutations, and reprieves in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, chapter 638. By July 1, 2024, the commission must develop application forms in consultation with the board.
Prior to May 19, 2023, pardons could be granted only by a unanimous vote of the three members of the board. Now a petitioner needs to receive only two of the three votes, provided one is the governor.