state politics

Minnesota Legislators Still Not Allowed to Make Eye Contact

In this Feb. 4, 2014 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., reads over his notes before the start of a hearing on data breaches and combating cybercrime on Capitol Hill in Washington. “We now have this incredible acceleration of information technology and there are privacy issues that are both sort of Constitutional issues, but also commercial issues,” Franken said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Senator Al Franken follows the example of his state’s legislators and refuses to look at his colleagues. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Corbis

Minnesota’s state senators decided to keep two decidedly weird rules on the books yesterday. The legislators will still be forbidden from looking at each other during floor debates, which Senator Warren Limmer thought was “dare I say, antiquated,” and no one — senators nor staffers — will be able to drink water on the Senate floor.

Senator Torrey Westrom was one of the few people who thought the no-drinking rule was silly, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press“It’s not pop, it’s not beer,” he said, in one of the most midwestern sentences ever uttered. “It’s just H2O.” The Senate briefly considered allowing pregnant women to drink water in the chamber, before a bipartisan majority voted that proposal down, too, still fearing for the safety of the Capitol’s historic desks. 

State Representative Tim Sanders tweeted at Pioneer Press’s political reporter while she shared the news of the Senate’s failed “heretical proposal.” 

Long Live the House!” he said. “Where even Senators can come over and drink water on the House Floor. #Reason73whytheHouseisbetter”

He wasn’t the only state representative to make fun of upper house colleagues. Representative Mike Freiberg tweeted, “Other Senate rules: use secret handshake, speak in iambic pentameter, drag Stone of Shame if you violate a rule.”

Legislators Not Allowed to Make Eye Contact