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Amended sex offender release bill passes House, Senate going to governor

The release process for committed sex offenders and other inmates from state mental health facilities would be impacted by a bill going to the governor.

Sponsored by Rep. Brian Johnson (R-Cambridge) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), HF3782/SF3673* was passed 119-0, as amended, by the House Friday, then repassed 64-0 by the Senate a couple of hours later.

It would alter the law governing the release of mentally ill or dangerous people from state care.

A delete-all amendment successfully offered by Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) changes the language of the bill.

State statutes now say “a patient who is mentally ill and dangerous shall not be discharged unless it appears to the satisfaction of the commissioner” that certain conditions are met and “is no longer in need of inpatient treatment and supervision.”

Dean’s amendment would remove the word “inpatient,” then add language requiring any person committed as mentally ill and dangerous or “sexually dangerous” or with “a sexual psychopathic personality” to not be discharged from a facility “including any pending petition for a reduction in custody, unless, for such a pending petition, an order of the commissioner or the judicial appeal panel discharging the person from commitment has been issued.”

Dean said his amendment was meant to narrow the language of the original bill to address a specific issue raised by the release of Level 2 predatory offender in Mendota Heights earlier this year.

“This narrows the focus of this to [that case] for inpatient treatment,” Dean said. “It gets rid of the confusing loophole.”

Johnson said he intends to continue working on the broader issue of releasing these patients and make take additional steps next session.

“This is a serious situation we have to deal with,” Johnson said. “It is our intent to work with the rest of the issues over the interim.” 

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