The 2012 legislative session starts Tuesday and two of the first bills that will be debated in the House of Representatives have already raised a few eyebrows.
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, introduced a bill that will enhance penalties for assaulting or causing the death of a prosecuting attorney and a bill that will authorize county attorneys to carry firearms on duty. Both will be discussed in a house floor session Thursday afternoon.
In December, a Cook County prosecutor and a potential witness in a sexual assault trial were shot and wounded by Daniel Schlienz, the man on trial. The men survived and Schlienz later died in custody.
Cornish said he had been working on the bill to allow prosecutors to carry firearms before the December shooting, but the incident brought attention to the measure. There are already enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers and corrections officers. Cornish’s second bill adds prosecuting attorneys to that list.
The Minnesota County Attorneys Association has so far remained neutral on both bills, but some individual prosecutors have endorsed the changes.