Minn. State Lawmakers’ DWI Immunity Faces Challenge

Monday, 19 Mar 2012 11:58 AM

By Martin Gould

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A legal loophole that allows members of Minnesota's legislature to drive drunk without fear of prosecution is being challenged by state Republicans.

A vote to add DWI to the list of crimes that can be prosecuted is due in both houses of the state legislature this week, reports Fox News. Under the state Constitution, lawmakers can only be prosecuted for “treason, felony and breach of the peace,” while they are in session or traveling to and from the statehouse.

"Back in the 1800s, when our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, there was a natural fear of political retribution for certain votes and freedoms of speech," Concordia University political science Professor Jayne Jones told Fox News. “Our Founding Fathers wrote this in our Constitution for that purpose.”

Jones said one of her students interning in the Minnesota Senate had been offered a ride by a senator as “she couldn’t get arrested for DWI.” The senator hit the median as she drove away.

The GOP holds the majority in both houses of the state legislature. The legislation is sponsored by Republicans Rep. John Kriesel and Sen. Mike Parry.


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