Minnesota Legislature candidates can now use $3K of campaign funds for home security systems

[anvplayer video=”5058693″ station=”998122″]

A growing number of incidents at the homes of elected officials across Minnesota has grabbed the attention of the Minnesota Legislature.

A bill passed during the last legislative session with bipartisan support allows political candidates to use up to $3,000 of campaign donations during an election cycle for home security systems.

State Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he’s had protests at his home five times over the past year.

“You know when you hear the mob outside — one of those events, they came right up to the screen door on my house,” Limmer said. “They opened the screen door and [were] pounding on the inner door demanding that I come outside to meet with them.”

Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins is running for re-election and is not eligible for the home security policy because she is not seeking a seat in the state Legislature, but she thinks the new provision is “reasonable and understandable.”

This past summer, Jenkins was cornered in her car by people who were upset with some of her recent policy positions and was not allowed to leave for more than an hour, until she signed a list of demands.

“I can share with you something that happened at my home just this week, and that was graffiti spray-painted on the walk leading up to my home’s front steps,” Jenkins said. “It is really intimidating and it really has impacted my mental health over the past week.”

Dr. Yohuru Williams, distinguished university chair at the University of St. Thomas, said there has been an increase in political violence against elected officials ever since former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011 — along with an explosion of attacks often generated through social media.

“I think it speaks to how polarized the nation has become and particularly in the aftermath of Jan. 6,” Williams said. “I would say there is a lot of concern about political violence in the United States right now and allowing some campaign donations to be spent on home security systems seems to be a reasonable solution.”