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Capitol area security (new law)

Published (5/25/2012)
By Nick Busse
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State Patrol officers can now be assigned to protect state lawmakers and other high-ranking state officials, if they’re believed to be in danger. 

Effective May 2, 2012, a new law authorizes state troopers to provide security on a short-term basis in response to “credible threats” against legislators, Supreme Court justices and constitutional officers.

The law does not specify criteria for what constitutes a credible threat. Instead, that decision will be left to the governor and the commissioner of public safety.

The law also establishes an Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security, consisting of the lieutenant governor, two House members, two senators and the chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court (or their designee). The committee will meet at least four times a year to discuss security concerns and make recommendations to the Legislature. It will sunset on June 30, 2022.

Rep. Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine), who sponsors the law with Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), said the provisions are partially a response to the January 2011 mass shooting near Tucson, Ariz., that killed or wounded 19 people, including former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After that incident, Gov. Mark Dayton convened a joint executive-legislative committee to make recommendations on improving security in the Capitol Complex. The group advocated for many of the provisions embodied in the new law.

HF1607*/ SF1283/CH258

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