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Legislative Update 4.26.24

Friday, April 26, 2024

Friends and Neighbors,


Things at the Capitol have been dicey this past week.As you may have heard, Senator Nicole Mitchell was arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary this past Monday. The charging documents and police report indicate that Senator Mitchell left her home district of Woodbury at approximately 1:00 in the morning and drove to her stepmother's house in Detroit Lakes while wearing all black and carrying a flashlight modified to reduce the amount of light output.

Once there, she allegedly broke into the house through a basement window while her stepmother was asleep upstairs. The 911 transcript that was just released last night adds even more bizarre details to the story - it seems that Senator Mitchell was lying on the floor next to her sleeping stepmother before she woke up, tripped over her, and called the police while the senator fled to the basement. Senator Mitchell even said to police, after being Mirandized, that "I know I did something bad" and "clearly I'm not good at this."

Senator Mitchell was then arrested with her stepmother's laptop in her bag. She spent the night in jail, had a restraining order filed against her by her stepmother, and was released after a brief hearing.

While this sounds too far-fetched to be true, I assure you that it is.

This situation clearly complicates the end of the legislative session with Senator Mitchell being the deciding vote in a one-seat majority in the Senate. As of today, Senator Mitchell has not yet returned to the Capitol and she did not vote during Wednesday's Senate Floor session where a motion to expedite an ethics committee hearing into Senator Mitchell's conduct failed on a party-line vote, 33-33.

Despite all of this, Democrats are moving forward with their plans to pass more gun control bills this legislative session, with a self-admitted burglar as the deciding vote in the Senate.

Gun control bills will be considered on the House Floor on Monday, and then will head to the Senate where Senator Mitchell will be the 34th vote. We simply cannot allow a Senator facing felony charges to be the deciding vote on gun control bills and other controversial pieces of legislation in the final weeks of session.

The Senate Republican Minority Leader Mark Johnson issued a statement calling on Senator Mitchell to resign. I support those calls, and agree that her conduct has clearly breached Senate rules which stipulate that “Members shall adhere to the highest standard of ethical conduct…” Senate rules go on to state that “improper conduct includes conduct that […] betrays the public trust, or that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor or disrepute.”

This story is developing and I will keep you updated as new details emerge. For now, we have a deadlocked Legislature and the people of Woodbury have no representation in the Senate Chamber.

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