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Highlights: Thursday at the State Capitol

Updated: 03/20/2014 10:34 AM
Created: 03/20/2014 8:01 AM KAALtv.com
By: Jennie Olson

A House committee will take up a bill that would strip lawmakers from immunity if they get a DWI during the legislative session. Lawmakers currently have some immunity from arrest during the legislative session, but the Legislator Immunity Act could change that. It means lawmakers can’t get a “get out of jail free” card if arrested for a minor offense.

The same House committee will also look at making it more difficult to get police mug shots in Minnesota. It would require a mug shot to be picked up in person and disclose if it will be published online. The idea is to prevent websites from easily posting mug shots online and charging people hundreds of dollars to unpublish them. Critics say this is extortion, but Mugshots.com says it’s doing a public service.

A Senate committee will also be discussing the collection of newborn blood samples. The committee will discuss a bill that would allow the health department to store baby blood samples long-term for research. Since 1997, the Health Department has kept leftover blood in a depository and used some for research, but that changed in 2011, when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that long-term storage without parental consent violated state law.

The law was changed in 2012 so that long-term storage now requires the parents' permission. The state says it is now destroying more than 1 million blood samples gathered as part of its newborn screening program, which screens babies for more than 50 disorders.

The Women’s Economic Security Act will also be heard in a House committee on Thursday. Supports say the legislation includes several new initiatives designed to break down barriers to economic progress facing women. The bill addresses pay equity and wages, job segregation, work-life balance and other issues working women face.

Minnesota State Capitol
Photo: Wikimedia Commons