The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 10, 2014

Spear column: From Taxes to DWI, Capitol pace quickens

Majority leader plows through Senate building dust-up, public perception

(Continued)

Said Murphy: “It’s been cast as a DWI immunity. The story got a little ahead of the Legislature and who we are.” The change was needed to make clear there are no gray areas when it comes to a legislator driving drunk during the session.

The whole skewing of the issue has been “irritating for some of our members,” Murphy said. “We’re not above the law.”

It’s surprising that more legislators didn’t hear the narrative playing out a lot sooner. It’s tough to defend the law that left a lot to the imagination and seemed to have loopholes big enough for a 747.

“The public can easily find their way to think less of the institution then they should,” she said.

Unfortunately, that’s a reality legislators have to assume comes with the territory.

 

Other issues

Other tidbits from the interview:

On the bonding bill that includes Mankato projects like the civic center, college buildings and St. Peter regional treatment center: “I think there’s bipartisan support for a strong bonding bill.” Murphy says she has talked with Republican members of the House who are “very keen” on a strong bonding bill.

 

On changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program: Because the federal courts have decided to further evaluate the program, any changes to the laws are on hold. She says any changes will only go forward if there is bipartisan support. “We all have to stand together.”

On proposal for a $25 million broadband grant program to expand broadband in Greater Minnesota: “We’re going to fight hard for that.”

On the recently passed Women’s Economic Security Act: It’s “super cool” and will make some changes to enforcing equal pay laws and offer more flexibility for nursing mothers in the workplace as well as require state contractors, like state government, to follow equal pay laws. Businesses are wary of some of the changes, but Murphy says “Businesses share the goal,” of supporting women in the workplace, so details can be worked out.

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