Few legislators would be tempted to give the appearance that they'd vote to give themselves the privilege to drive drunk. and so Wednesday's lopsided broadly bipartisan vote of 115 to 13 for HF2281, the so-called “DWI Immunity” bill authored by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL- Golden Valley) should be no surprise.
But much of the late night debate centered on a memo from the non-partisan Minnesota House Research Department which suggested that the "Get Out of Jail" card based on an antiquated provision in the State Constitution had little efficacy for keeping legislators out of the drunk tank. The researcher found that legislators last tried to use the card in 1983 and 1969, and that in a 1908 case, Williamson v US, the United States Supreme Court ruled a similar provision in the U.S Constitution did not shield members of Congress from criminal arrest.
Not that the initial media reports--like this one from Northland News, Minn House passes "DWI Immunity" bill--reflect the floor debate. Most of the House voted to make sure no one thought they were above the law, if even they already weren't above the law
Here's the memo:
Photo: A DWI stop.
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