A DFL state senator thinks a colleague should have to remove a sign reading "Protect Life" from his office window facing the Capitol, saying it's likely in violation of a zoning ordinance.
The "Protect Life" sign belongs to state Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, who tweeted a picture of the sign Thursday ahead of a planned rally by anti-abortion activists that is expected to draw a massive crowd. "Don't forget to rally with us this Sunday," Hall tweeted, along with an image of him pointing at the sign.
State Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, said the window sign likely violates zoning rules set by the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board.
The zoning rules are set in part to "preserve and enhance the dignity, beauty, and architectural integrity of the Capitol, the buildings immediately adjacent to it, the Capitol grounds, and the Capitol area," according to the published rules.
Under its guidelines for signs, the policy prohibits a "political sign" and "window sign" for some Capitol-area buildings that are zoned as a "government district."
Hall is not the only state elected official with a window sign. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has one hanging in his office window facing that Capitol that reads "We Support Mining."
Paul Mandell, executive secretary for the Capitol board, said in an email that any enforcement of the rule "is dependent on a request to the city attorney" because the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board does not have enforcement power.
Rest recalled that in 2011 she hung a sign from her office window in support of former President Obama. She took it down after she received a complaint, she said. "I didn't have that thing in my window for more than 15 minutes when someone came in from outside and said that it's illegal and it's gotta come down," Rest said.
She added: "From my viewpoint, it's not a matter of the content of the message."
Rest said she emailed Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, to ask that the sign be taken down.
A spokeswoman for Gazelka said he does not intend to ask Hall to remove the sign. Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment.