Owatonna 7th graders introduce bill to honor Capitol construction workers

Most 7th graders don't get the chance to make a state law, but a group of Owatonna, Minnesota students are doing just that. With the Capitol reconstruction underway, the students introduced a bill to honor the workers who originally built it.

“To erect a memorial or a plaque in the Minnesota State Capitol recognizing the efforts of these people, especially those that lost their lives during the construction,” said student Lauryn Bateman, reading the mission of the bill.

The students and their teacher testified in a House committee about studying the Capitol's construction in history class. When they learned 600 laborers worked on it, and 6 died, they felt they'd discovered a huge oversight.

“Mrs. Hansen was talking about the cornerstone and what was in it and I asked why it didn't recognize any of the workers that were working on the building or died making it,” said Chloe Beede.

The bill passed unanimously and moves to another committee. It's not expected to get any opposition. If it becomes law, students from across the state will submit design ideas for the workers memorial.