Tad Vezner / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—Dakota's dad put a gun in her hand when she was 3 years old. It was a .22 rifle, "and I thought I scared her. She shot and she was very very quiet," Todd Overland said. "And about a half an hour later she came up to me and said, 'Dad, can I do that again?'" She tagged along on his hunting trips that same year.
ST. PAUL — The most likely path for getting a gun control bill through the Minnesota Legislature this year has expired. No legislation to restrict guns has advanced in the Republican-controlled Legislature, although the GOP is promoting a variety of school safety plans. Thursday, March 22, was the deadline for policy-based legislation (like gun control bills) to pass through a committee in order for it to traverse the typical route to become law. And while bills still could come up in a variety of ways, it is not likely.
ST. PAUL—A state bill designed to restrict fledgling efforts to allow video coverage of Minnesota court sentencings passed through a House committee Wednesday — with critics arguing it would hinder cooperation by witnesses and victims, and proponents arguing it would give the public additional understanding and confidence in the court process.
ST. PAUL—By a unanimous vote and with no one speaking against it, a bill that would make it illegal to use a snowmobile for a year after any drunken driving conviction passed through another key committee at the Minnesota Capitol on Wednesday. Currently, state law takes away snowmobile driving privileges only in DUI cases involving snowmobiles themselves. Thus, a person who is convicted of drunken driving in a car could still use a snowmobile to get around, bypassing restrictions placed on their automobile.
ST. PAUL—The tight-knit group of high-schoolers descended on the Capitol without a single protest sign or parent in tow. Many wore suits and ties, as immaculate as evangelical door-knockers. They didn't utter one chant. And though the eight of them were there to talk gun control, they weren't too keen on slogans. Nobody had a sheet bearing talking-points. They stayed polite, said "thank you."
ST. PAUL—The state released a legislative audit Friday, March 16, on Minnesota's voting process that included a partial accounting of how—and how often—people voted illegally or had their registrations challenged when they shouldn't have been. The Office of the Legislative Auditor noted there is a spectrum when it comes to the voting process: tighten voting requirements too much and it becomes increasingly difficult for eligible people to vote; loosen them too much and ineligible people are able to cast ballots.
ST. PAUL—Citing national security officials' warnings that Minnesota's voter database had already been targeted by elements "at the behest of the Russian government," the secretary of state is asking for funding to update its statewide registration system. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he's been in multiple meetings with Department of Homeland Security officials — including a meeting as late as February — relating to foreign attempts to affect the integrity of Minnesota's voting system.
ST. PAUL—With a pair of votes that appeared to surprise no one, the Minnesota House tabled gun control bills that had — in both present and previous iterations — sat without hearings for years. The fact that the hearing happened at all seemed to be the only surprising thing — with Rep. Dave Pinto, DFL- St. Paul, forcing it by using a little-used House rule addressing bills that had sat unaddressed by committees for too long.
ST. PAUL — While one Minnesota House representative has used a little-known rule to get an unexpected hearing on a pair of gun-safety bills this week, another representative has sponsored another that reaches much further than any in recent memory. And she says she may very well adopt the same tactic as her colleague to garner a hearing.
ST. PAUL—By evoking a little-used or known House rule, a Democratic state representative has forced the Minnesota Legislature to hold a hearing this week on a pair of gun-control bills that have been in limbo for more than a year. State Rep. Dave Pinto, DFL-St. Paul, is the primary sponsor of two bills referred last year to the House's public safety committee — which on Tuesday added the bills to their upcoming Thursday meeting agenda.