Apr 25, 2024 - News

Minnesota Senate Republicans file ethics complaint against Sen. Nicole Mitchell over burglary charge

Illustration of the Minnesota State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Fallout over the DFL state senator charged with felony burglary dominated discussion β€” and upended business β€” at the Capitol on Wednesday.

State of play: Sen. Nicole Mitchell, who was arrested Monday for allegedly breaking into her stepmother's home to retrieve her late father's belongings, did not attend session or vote remotely as lawmakers returned to St. Paul after a two-day Passover break.

  • The Woodbury Democrat, who denies she was stealing, has said through an attorney that she has no plans to resign over the incident.

Driving the news: Senate Republicans filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell and sought to expedite its review. A motion to speed it up failed on a 33-33 tie.

  • The DFL majority postponed planned votes on several large policy bills, citing a need to pause in light of what Majority Leader Erin Murphy called a "heartbreaking" and "troubling" situation.
  • Murphy said the Senate will follow its normal process for ethics complaints, which allows 30 days for an initial review.

The big question: Whether β€” and how β€” the situation complicates the final month of the legislative session, given Democrats' one-vote majority in the Senate.

  • If Mitchell resigned or was unable to vote, the chamber would be locked in a 33-33 tie.

The intrigue: Murphy, who gets to decide whether members can vote remotely, said that will be a "day-to-day consideration" in Mitchell's case.

What we're watching: Mitchell's defense attorney told Axios that while the "logistics of her participation are not clear, " he expects her to return to in-person work at the Capitol.

  • He said more facts showing her side are forthcoming and that he's deeply concerned" about social media posts "advocating that due process be suspended."

Go deeper: Minnesota senator faces pressure to resign after burglary charge

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