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Disability advocates disturb Senate session

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota state senators Updated: May 11, 2011 - 4:30 PM

Wednesday morning the Minnesota Senate took an unplanned recess after disability advocates began shouting from the legislative gallery and refused to quiet.

As the Senate was gearing up for a debate on a controversial constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the small band of advocates began shouting "Jail before Nursing home!" They were focused not on the amendment but on proposed budget cuts to services that help keep the disabled living independently.

Capitol Security removes disability advocates from Senate gallery/Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Capitol Security removes disability advocates from Senate gallery/Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

 

Senate President Michelle Fischbach tried to silence the protestors from her podium but they would not be hushed. She told them they would be cleared from the public gallery that overlooks the chamber but they kept shouting. She called for a Senate recess, briefly ending the session as Capitol Security moved to remove the four protestors, two of whom were in wheelchairs and one of whom was blind.

According to ADAPT Minnesota the four protestors were briefly detained and then removed from the Capitol. The organization identified the advocates as Galen Smith, Chris Bell, Nikki Villavicencio-Tollison, and Darrell Paulsen.

While discussions often get heated at the Capitol, advocates rarely bring floor sessions to a standstill.

 

 

 

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