The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 21, 2014

Police, prosecutors show influence at Capitol

Medical marijuana proponents frustrated with Dayton

ST. PAUL — On issues ranging from medical marijuana to privacy, some Minnesota lawmakers are concerned police and prosecutors are spending too much time at the Capitol to protect and serve their own interests.

Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, who's trying to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, said she's frustrated that Gov. Mark Dayton won't support the proposal unless it has support from law enforcement, Minnesota Public Radio reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1gNkpOI).

She said she's also surprised that police groups objected to giving immunity to people who seek emergency help for someone suffering from a drug overdose.

"I'm starting to wonder who makes the laws around here," Melin said. "It seems like we take their opinion into pretty heavy consideration whenever we're passing legislation."

State Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, said police and prosecutors shouldn't be able to use devices that collect driver's license data for vehicle locations, follow cellphones or use GPS tracking devices without first getting a warrant.

"It's our job as civilian legislators, representatives of the people, to hold law enforcement accountable, especially law enforcement," Petersen said. "Law enforcement is the one entity — government entity — that has the ability to imprison you and take your life if necessary. If anybody should be constrained by the law, it ought to be law enforcement."

But Jim Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, said his group and others are just trying to inform lawmakers about the implications of their actions.

"If they feel that we offer too many opinions, speak up too much in public testimony or give our opinions too much, if that is called clout, then we don't apologize," Franklin said.

Dayton, a Democrat, said he's not worried about being too close to police and prosecutors.

"If I'm going to be criticized for respecting law enforcement officials and depending on their perspective to know what the consequences of laws are going to be in the real world where they're fighting crime every day, I'll accept that," Dayton said.

------

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014

  • Thousands without power due to storms MCGREGOR (AP) — Thousands of Minnesotans are without electricity after powerful storms moved through central and northeastern Minnesota. Strong winds of 50 to 70 mph knocked down trees and power lines overnight Monday. Minnesota Power and Lake Count

    July 22, 2014

  • Ellison urges Minn. to aid Central American minors ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota congressman is leading efforts to bring more unaccompanied children fleeing Central America to the state. But, immigration advocates and nonprofit groups that serve refugees are concerned Minnesota might not be abl

    July 22, 2014

  • Detroit retirees back pension cuts by a landslide DETROIT (AP) — A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest

    July 22, 2014