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Minnesota Legislature

ST. PAUL, MN—On Wednesday the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission held a public hearing on a proposal to cap probation sentences at five years for most crimes.

The public meeting comes six weeks after the Commission likely violated the state open meeting law by proceeding with action on the recommendation which had been marked as a discussion item on the meeting's agenda. The proposal had not been posted online, and there had been no public notice that the commission would take action on the agenda item. In addition, there were major questions raised at the meeting whether the commission even has authority to recommend changes to probation lengths. There is no previous precedent for the commission making these changes, and no clear authority under state law. Today's meeting kicks off a five day comment period, and the move could be given final approval January 9th. If approved, the legislature could only block the recommendation by passing a bill and having it signed into law by Governor Walz.

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