The state’s constitution, in a provision originally meant to ensure lawmakers weren’t detained to prevent their voting, says representatives are immune from arrest while the legislature is in session, except for specific crimes including breach of the peace.
Students at Concordia University challenged their representatives to revise the antiquated law.
Critics claim revision of the law is unnecessary citing no evidence that legislators have evaded arrest using heir immunity, but backers claim the revision is needed to make it clear to lawmakers and the public that representatives can be arrested for DWI while in session.
According to a report in the Star Tribune, the revised language clarifies: “a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor constitutes a breach of the peace for purposes of the Minnesota Constitution.”
The measure, which passed in Minessota’s House, 115-15, will be now be heard by the State Senate.