“Wow” is about all I can say about this story. It’s something that seems even too absurd for The Onion.
The Minnesota Constitution gives lawmakers a “get out of jail free” card of sorts, basically allowing them to drink and drive without fear of being arrested. Yes, you read that right.
According to WDAY 6 News:
This ‘privilege from arrest’ includes the members of each house in all cases except treason, felony and breach of peace, and says they “shall be privileged from arrest during the session of their respective houses and in going to or returning from the same.”
Jayne Jones, a professor at Concordia St. Paul, is seeking to put an end to this immunity by including DWI within the “breach of peace” part of the Minnesota Constitution. She uses her classroom to teach students about the process of government by having them support a bill and follow through with their support until it’s either passed or voted down.
Jones recounted a story that initially led to her push to end this ridiculous loophole when she was at a bar and noticed a legislator that was clearly too drunk to drive. “He was drunk as a skunk,” she said, “and he announced to the entire bar that unlike us, he could drive home drunk and not get arrested.”
His secretary then showed her a card that gave legislators immunity from being arrested for driving while intoxicated.
This absurdity is what motivated Jones to try to put an end to this loophole.
Her current efforts to end DWI immunity for state legislators have been ongoing for three years now. Though she says that they’ve finally made progress as they’re “OK” in the House, yet they still have work to do in the Senate.
It’s ridiculous that it’s taken three years for this to finally be making some progress. The fact that there’s a “debate” about this at all is absurd. Who in their right mind actually believes state legislators should be exempt from criminal prosecution for drinking and driving? Why am I even being forced to contemplate how utterly dangerous and stupid the whole concept is? Three years of fighting to fix this and it’s still not fixed?!
I hope that whenever this comes up for a vote, the tally is made public and we can all see who votes against closing this “immunity” provision. And I hope those who do are made to answer for why they would vote against closing this disgusting loophole.
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