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Ritchie Stops Issuing Lawmaker Privilege Cards

Created: 05/21/2014 12:38 PM KSTP.com

Minnesota's secretary of state says he will no longer issue cards that some thought would give lawmakers immunity from being arrested for drunken driving or other crimes during a legislative session.
    
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced his decision Wednesday, saying his office isn't required to distribute the cards.
    
The issue of lawmaker immunity is part of a constitutional clause that dates back to frontier days - originally designed to avert political dirty tricks by arresting someone to keep them from being present for votes.
    
A bill that would have clarified that lawmakers are not immune from arrest for criminal activity passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Lawmakers who opposed the legislation say the supposed get-out-of-jail-free-cards lawmakers get each time they are sworn in don't prevent arrest.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

In this photo provided April 10, 2014 by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office is a so-called “get out of jail free” card that is issued to legislators that explain their constitutional privilege against arrest.
Photo: AP/Minnesota Secretary of State's Office

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