Minnesota House revokes lawmakers immunity to arrest

Backers claim revision of the law is necessary to clarify that lawmakers can be arrested for DWI while the legislature is in session.
By JC Sevcik   |   April 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, April 10 (UPI) -- The Minnesota House revoked an archaic law that allowed lawmakers immunity from arrest during legislative sessions late Wednesday night, local NBC affiliate KARE reports.

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.

[Star Tribune]

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