Are the state’s controlled substances laws too tough? Are there people behind bars who might thrive with a lesser sentence, such as probation, for their crimes?
Those were two of the questions discussed Wednesday at the third meeting of the Prison Population Task Force.
Co-chaired by Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) and Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), the group hopes to help craft recommendations for the 2016 legislative session to deal with prison overcrowding.
On July 1, 2015, the state housed 10,119 inmates, 560 more than capacity. The gap is forecast to exceed 1,200 inmates by 2022 if everything stays the same in terms of statutes and sentencing. To help with the current situation, the Department of Corrections now leases 500 beds at county jails.
Wednesday’s agenda included a presentation from the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and a discussion on the background of drug sentencing laws.
HF994/ SF773 would address controlled substance crimes “by lowering certain threshold amounts, eliminating minimum sentences, expanding the nonviolent controlled substance offender conditional release program, making the stay of adjudication law for low-level offenders mandatory, and directing that savings from these changes be used for treatment and educational programs.”
The bills await action by the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
The budget process explained — and why it matters
$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session
It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.