Democratic Sen. Nicole Mitchell returned to the State Capitol on Monday and began voting for the first time since she was arrested and charged with felony first-degree burglary. Mitchell voted on motions directly related to whether she should be allowed to vote going forward.

The first-term senator from Woodbury who allegedly broke into her stepmother's home last week to retrieve some of her late father's belongings declined to answer reporters' questions when the Senate recessed Monday morning. Some of Mitchell's DFL colleagues embraced her on the floor.

When the Senate returned from recess, Republicans offered a motion to prohibit any member who's been charged with a crime of violence from voting on bills until the chamber's ethics committee has weighed in on their case. They argued that other Minnesotans would be put on leave from their jobs if they faced such a serious criminal charge.

"Her actions have brought the Senate into dishonor. Her actions have brought the Senate into disrepute," Sen. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said of Mitchell.

Democrats argued the motion should be ruled out of order because it lacked a constitutional precedent. Senate President Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, agreed and ruled it out of order.

Republicans then appealed Champion's ruling, but their motion failed. All Democrats, including Mitchell, voted to uphold Champion's decision.

"The Senate doesn't have the authority to remove a vote from a member," said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. Latz and other Democrats further argued that barring Mitchell from voting would disenfranchise her constituents.

The burglary charge against Mitchell has cast uncertainty over the final month of Minnesota's legislative session. Democrats hold the state Senate by a one-seat margin and can't pass a long list of bills without Mitchell's vote. Mitchell said last week she doesn't intend to resign.

Senate Republicans have filed an ethics complaint against Mitchell. A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for May 7.

Over the weekend, the Senate DFL Caucus removed Mitchell from legislative committee assignments and caucus meetings.

Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, told reporters Monday that Mitchell is entitled to due process.

"Senator Mitchell is entitled to vote and the people who sent her here from Woodbury, Senate District 47, are entitled to her representation," Murphy said. "I think it is important that she is here. I think that it's important that she's voting in person."

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson criticized Democrats as siding with Mitchell.

"This is a cloud over the top of the Senate right now," Johnson, of East Grand Forks, said Monday. "[Mitchell] made the deciding vote on whether she should be voting today on the floor. I hope you saw the irony in that."

Officers arrested Mitchell last week just before 5 a.m. in the basement of her stepmother's Detroit Lakes home. Mitchell was dressed in black and admitted to entering her stepmother's house through a sliding basement window, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said they found a flashlight covered with a black sock — dimming its brightness — near Mitchell, and a backpack wedged in the open basement window. That backpack contained several items, including a laptop the criminal complaint suggests belonged to Mitchell's stepmother.

Mitchell allegedly told police, "I know I did something bad," but that she entered the home to take some of her late father's belongings, including his ashes. The senator shared a different version of events in a Facebook post last week, denying stealing and saying she drove from Woodbury to Detroit Lakes in the middle of the night to conduct a welfare check on a family member who has declined "due to Alzheimer's and associated paranoia."

One of Mitchell's attorneys later told the Star Tribune the senator was also trying to "retrieve a couple of items that she felt were being wrongfully withheld from her."

In a statement through her attorneys last week, Mitchell said, "I am confident that a much different picture will emerge when all of the facts are known."