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

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Legislators currently have a "get out of jail free" card for most sub-felony arrests.
As expected, today's deadline came and went without a bill that would strip legislators of the DWI immunity they currently enjoy during session making it out of committee.

SEE ALSO: Push renewed to strip legislators of DWI immunity

Professor Jayne Jones, instructor of the Concordia University government students who wrote the bill and are lobbying for it at the Capitol, predicted it was likely dead this year if the deadline wasn't met. But the House Rules Committee still has the power to revive the bill, and its chief sponsor in that chamber, Rep. Ryan Winkler, D-Golden Valley, says he'll do everything he can to get it to the floor.

In a statement released today, Winkler said:
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This bill was proposed by students as part of a project that encourages young people to get involved in the law making process. It has broad bipartisan support in the Legislature and I will continue to push it forward this session. Not only because these students have worked hard to ensure that it passes, but also because it addresses an outdated and unnecessary provision in our states constitution. No elected official is above the law.
Reached for comment this afternoon, we asked Winkler if Rules Committee members stand behind him. Some DFLers have already voted against the bill.

"I believe that House leadership is supportive of these efforts," he replied.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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19 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Not only should they be stripped of immunity, they should face DOUBLE the jail time that any ordinary citizen would face for the same crime.

Mike Hess
Mike Hess

I don't get what some DFL legislators are fighting to keep this exemption. Hard to rationalize.

Lisa Schreiber Skjefte
Lisa Schreiber Skjefte

can we also make them return their unused per diem and make them pay taxes on their used pre diem?

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Hey city pages and Aaron Rupar if you're going to keep covering this issue how about you go into a history of why legislators have immunity in the first place. Do some damn journalism.

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Am I the only one that thinks they should be held to a higher standard than regular citizens not lower? What a joke. And this is only scratching the surface on the b.s. that is the modern organized political process. I guess it depends on what the definition of is, is. 

Iesha Coleman
Iesha Coleman

I don't care who you are, if you drive under the influence, you should be arrested!!

Lyle Kill
Lyle Kill

All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal.

Jack Hicks
Jack Hicks

Why is it so important to have a DWI free pass; are they drinking so much they are planning on getting a bunch of DWIs?

Lori Coleman
Lori Coleman

I can't even believe this is in existence. Messed up.

Stuart Allen
Stuart Allen

so their above the law what kind of example are they setting

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@k2yeb People think politics are at an all time partisan high right now but really things have always been this way.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@k2yeb You need to study the history of Minnesota to understand why lawmakers have immunity during legislative sessions. As the state was forming the two sides were so distrustful of each other they came to meetings packing pistols and one side showed up days early to make sure they were not locked out of the meeting. The two sides hated each other so much that there are two Minnesota constitutions (with different punctuation) because they refused to even sign the same piece of paper. Back then there was a very real possibility of being falsely arrested to keep you from voting so that is why lawmakers have immunity. 

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

So they are above the law, what kind of example are they setting?

chrisdahl
chrisdahl

And what does that have to with getting a DWI? If your history lesson is some sort of defense - it's utterly ridiculous of a defense.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@midwestexplorer81 Exactly.  It's amazing to me how many people commenting here either didn't read the articles or lack the ability to understand them.  It's not like there is a law on the books that explicitly states legislators get to drink and drive when in session.

tim.brackett
tim.brackett

@midwestexplorer81 lol, but you are a "top commenter" here. dumb! no one is expecting city pages to be a beacon of journalistic prowess. thanks for the history lesson though. 

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@chrisdahl My history lesson is not a defense I'm just pointing out why the law exists in the first place which is something the poor excuses for journalists at City Pages have failed to do. So many people commenting on these articles have no clue why the laws existed in the first place and City Pages apparently has no interest to research a story and explain these things.  City Pages is not a "news" site, they are an editorial page masquerading as a news site. City Pages is as bad as the national FOX News channel, both are just SHIT!

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