ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota House has passed a bill that erases any immunity for state lawmakers facing felony or misdemeanor charges, including drunken driving.
Some students at Concordia University made it their mission to have the archaic law granting immunity revised. But some state lawmakers questioned whether it was really necessary because there was no evidence that elected officials were skirting arrests by claiming immunity. The bill initially focused on drunken driving, but was amended to include all felonies, gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors.
The immunity provision in the state constitution dates back to 1858 when the state’s founding fathers wanted to protect legislators from being arrested and kept from voting on important measures.
Members of the House Democratic majority and Republican minority joined together to support the bill.