ST. PAUL (WCCO) – A bill introduced Thursday in the Minnesota Legislature would repeal a law that prohibits objects hanging from the rearview mirror while driving, a traffic violation in Minnesota that Daunte Wright’s mother said her son told her on the phone was the reason he was pulled over before he was shot and killed.
The legislation, introduced in the House by members of the New House Republican Caucus, would simply strike sections of Minnesota law that bans “any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield” except for the rearview mirror itself, sun visors and electronic toll devices.
Under current law, items like parking passes and air fresheners are prohibited from being affixed to the rearview mirror.
The statute is facing heightened scrutiny in wake of the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright. Police say he was pulled over for expired registration tabs, but his mother, Katie Wright, said that Daunte called her after being pulled over and told her police stopped him because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.
This also comes amid more broad discussions about further police reforms at the state capitol. DFL lawmakers and activists are mounting pressure for additional legislative action following changes made in wake of George Floyd’s death last summer, threatening to hold up budget negotiations if nothing happens.
The hurdle is clearing the GOP-controlled Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said that he will at least hold “fact-finding” hearings on additional police reform measures in the coming weeks.