Legislators using strange logic in ongoing effort to kill bill stripping them of DWI immunity

ImmunityCard.jpg
"And here it is. The Get Out of Jail Card," MNGOP Rep. Tony Cornish wrote on Facebook. "On the other side is the name of the Legislator and the expiration date, which is the end of your term."
A bill written by a group of Concordia University students that would strip legislators of DWI immunity appeared to be dead in the House earlier this month, but was revived after Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, publicly threw his support behind it. It cleared the House Civil Law Committee on Friday and has been sent to the floor for a vote.

But the same can't be said in the Senate, where the bill has been tabled by the Judiciary Committee.

See also:
Rep. Ryan Winkler vows to keep pushing bill stripping legislators of DWI immunity

The bill's chief author in the Senate is Judiciary Committee member Kathy Sheran, D-Mankato. She told us over the weekend that while she thinks it's very unlikely the bill will make it out of Judiciary and reach the Senate floor, she hopes to attach DWI immunity reform to another bill as an amendment.
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Sen. Kathy Sheran

Sheran also detailed the strange logic used by her colleagues who are opposed to the measure.

"Most of all those who voted to table it were concerned about the lack of evidence that there is a problem," Sheran says. "They don't want to suggest public officials are [driving drunk] without evidence."

But the issue with that line of thinking is that if a legislator is pulled over for DWI and uses their "get out of jail card," there will be no record of an arrest taking place. So what sort of evidence do opponents expect to see?

Jayne Jones, the Concordia professor helping students with their effort, told us she's similarly baffled.

"I don't understand why they're so protective of [the immunity cards]," Jones says. "If it's not used, why have it in law? I don't get that part."

The issue cuts across partisan lines. On Saturday, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder -- perhaps best known as the legislature's most colorful gun rights supporter -- posted this Facebook status in favor of the students' bill:

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Cornish's post resulted in an interesting exchange with a man who says he made the controversial "get out of jail free" cards for the state.

(For more, click to page two.)

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8 comments
c.carp
c.carp

Homeboy's gotta relax with the shift key.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Tony Cornish was elected in 2002.  In all those years with Tim Pawlenty as governor this stupid looking liar didn't bother to do anything important.  Typical Republican.   All Republicans do is bitch about Democrats.  They never fix anything themselves.   He knew this was a problem for years but did nothing?    You think that earns you points scumbag?   What an idiot.  

Mike Hess
Mike Hess

And why is it people have low opinions of politicians, again? Kudos to those trying to push some common sense here.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Badges give you the ability to live life beyond laws. Hypocrites.

_Joe_
_Joe_

"But there are others who say you should only write laws when there is a problem and you can fix it with a law"

So.... the law that exempts legislators for DWI arrest was created to address... a problem?


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