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Bill to weaken 'legislative immunity' moves ahead in Minnesota

Minnesota Capitol
Minnesota Capitol

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A student-led effort to strip Minnesota lawmakers of their ability to avoid drunken driving arrests during legislative sessions has cleared an early hurdle.

The House Government Operations Committee endorsed a bill Wednesday that would narrow the terms of ''legislative immunity'' the state Constitution currently affords lawmakers during sessions. Eight Concordia University students are behind the push.

The bill would define driving while impaired as a ''breach of the peace.'' Lawmakers can be arrested during session in cases of ''treason, felony and breach of the peace.''

There is no evidence any lawmaker has tried to invoke immunity to avoid a DWI charge.

The immunity is meant to guard against the arbitrary arrest of members to keep them from voting on bills.