Attorney General: arrest Minnesota lawmakers if they drive drunk

Be careful about how you explain this legal position in public … . Abby Simons of the Strib says, “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson supported an initiative to clarify a long-standing provision that gives lawmakers immunity from arrest during the legislative session, but a key Senate lawmaker countered that education, not legislation, is key to clearing up misconceptions about the law. The so-called ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’ has been the source of debate and controversy at the Capitol because some believe it could extend to drunken driving. … Swanson said the law, as it applies to modern cases, would not get legislators out of an arrest for DWI or any other crime.”

… But doesn’t the Minnesota Constitution say, “in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, [legislators] shall be privileged from arrest” during a session? In a Strib commentary, Sens. Ron Latz and Scott Newman write, “If there is confusion about whether legislators are subject to arrest for drunken driving, perhaps it is time to consider eliminating the ‘privilege from arrest’ language from lawmakers’ wallet-sized identity cards, or at least clarify its meaning. However, legislation is not called for.”

Following Strib scoopster Graydon Royce and our Doug Grow, Michael Cooper of the New York Times writes, “In a move that some are calling a victory for art over commerce, the board of the beleaguered Minnesota Orchestra — which recently started playing again after a labor dispute caused a 16-month lockout — voted on Thursday to rehire Osmo Vanska as music director. … Mr. Vanska, who agreed to take the same pay cut as the musicians, said in a statement that he was pleased to have the chance to ‘rebuild’ his partnership with them, adding, ‘I look forward to getting back to music-making with the players and together re-establishing our worldwide reputation for artistic excellence.’”

What next? Pay for interns? Alex Friedrich of MPR reports, “Adjunct faculty at Macalester College and Hamline University will soon be voting on whether to organize. … They said adjunct professors — generally part-time instructors without tenure — are a major part of the campus teaching force, and want a voice at work. Several described working long hours at multiple campuses with no job security, low pay and often no benefits.” If I didn’t know better I’d think the adjuncts want to be treated like real professors who had to kiss butt, connive and backstab for their tenure.

As for the bill banning online gamblingDoug Belden of the PiPress writes, “Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has said he thinks the bill will pass in the Senate. … Minnesota Lottery executive director Ed Van Petten warned of ‘unknown ramifications’ if the online service is terminated. About 8,500 people have subscription accounts for which they pay in advance and submit the numbers they want to play, he said. What legal liability would the state face if those contracts were canceled?”

The GleanPO’d anglers … . Says Dennis Anderson in the Strib, “Saying the Department of Natural Resources couldn’t have designed a better plan to wipe out Lake Mille Lacs walleyes than the one it has implemented since 1998, a group of Mille Lacs sport anglers and a resort operator sued the agency Thursday. … Particularly irksome, said Minneapolis lawyer Erick Kaardal, is the DNR’s recent edict prohibiting fishing on Mille Lacs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from May 12 to Dec. 1, which Kaardal said was administered without consideration of the lake’s walleye fishing heritage.’ Predictably, Indian fishing rights — netting — is a bone of contention.

I’m pretty sure “bragging” isn’t allowed in the The Great Minnesota Codebook of Social Comportment. But Curtis Gilbert at MPR writes, “Minneapolis has a problem, Mayor Betsy Hodges says: The city and its citizens are too modest. ‘We could discover cures for 17 kinds of cancer, and we would say nothing. And if someone else noticed, we would say, ‘Yeah, well thanks. Anybody could have done it,’ Hodges said Thursday in her first State of the City speech. ‘And then we would change the subject to the weather.’” So Hodges announced … “The Best Week of Bragging about Minneapolis Ever.” Who are we bragging too, exactly? Our cousin in San Luis Obispo?

Meanwhile, St. Paul is bragging after the hometown Wild even up their playoff series with the higher-seeded Colorado Avalanche. The PiPress’s Tom Powers, perhaps the only local daily columnist who approaches puck with a fan’s preoccupation, celebrates the 2-1 win as “God’s way of paying back Minnesota for all those years of substandard Wild teams.” Two of the final three games are in Denver, however.

Brooklyn Park … boomtown. In the Strib, Don Jacobson says, “With the city of Brooklyn Park considering the approval of another in a series of new commercial building projects along the Hwy. 610 corridor, the development momentum in the northwestern suburb shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, a rare combination of available vacant land relatively close to the urban core, ongoing infrastructure improvements, the driving force of Target Corp. and an improving economy is likely to accelerate the building boom despite the city’s recent rejection of some projects … .” An artisanal charcuterie can’t be far behind.

Things you never put in writing … .  Erin Trester of the Forum News Service writes, “The Ellsworth head boys basketball coach faces stalking and assault charges after allegedly sending a school board member threatening text messages when the board voted against renewing his contract. John D. Roberts, who is also a physical education and health teacher in the southwestern Minnesota district, has been charged with stalking with the intent to injure, a gross misdemeanor, and fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. … school board member Michael Werner, told officials that Roberts left the meeting after hearing the news about the termination of his contract. When the meeting concluded, Werner said, he received a text message from Roberts stating, ‘I’m coming after you.’” Next time just cc the Sheriff and save everyone a lot of time. 

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 04/25/2014 - 08:58 am.

    Mr Anderson does not answer the key question:

    Which historical rights came first- native rights or the rights of metro fishermen to drive up and fish at night? Guess depends on color of skin and color of money.

  2. Submitted by Marc Post on 04/25/2014 - 10:36 am.

    On second thought

    On it’s face, I originally thought that this was blatant privilage they shouldn’t have. Now I have second thoughts.

    I think it’s well within the scope of our current political climate to consider the possibility that one party could use arrests to its advantage. Just a few legislators tossed into the clink before a vote would do it.

    Considering the hyperbolic rheteric and severe partisianship, I wouldn’t put it past them. Afterall, if they’re ‘vermin’, ‘facisists’ and ‘traitors’ they they should be jailed anyway, right?

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