ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A proposal with roots in a college political science class has sparked a debate in the Minnesota Legislature over whether lawmakers should be immune from drunken driving arrests while they’re in session.
At issue is a provision in the state constitution meant to protect legislators against being arrested to prevent them from voting on important measures. There’s similar language in the U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions. But Jayne Jones’ political science students at Concordia University in St. Paul say it’s been abused.
The Minnesota House voted 115-13 late Wednesday to lift the immunity, and a state senator is looking for ways to bring up the proposal in her chamber.
Opponents say new legislation is unnecessary because U.S. Supreme Court decisions have stated conclusively that lawmakers aren’t immune from arrests.
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