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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

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Legislative Lingo: Harassment, gender-based violence have no place in Minnesota, and the Legislature must step up to stop it

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Published in the Shoreview Press February 6, 2019

I’m deeply grateful for the honor of serving the residents of Shoreview, Mounds View, Arden Hills, and Spring Lake Park in the Minnesota House. This is a responsibility I take seriously, and in my work at the State Capitol, I’m committed to creating opportunities and strengthening the way of life for all families, both in our community and across the state.

I was appointed to three committees for the coming session: Judiciary, of which I’m Vice Chair; Public Safety; and Education Policy. From these positions, I’ll be able to help shape solutions, and I’ve already introduced legislation doing so for two major issues.

With the emergence of the #metoo movement, it’s become abundantly clear that the status quo is no longer acceptable in workplaces, both in the public and private sector, regarding sexual harassment. Even with a culture change hopefully on the horizon, for many years courts have upheld an unreasonable “severe or pervasive” standard, making workplaces unsafe. Although it had overwhelming bipartisan support last session, the bill did not pass. I’m championing a bill to fix this standard and help ensure victims can find justice.

Last year, the Star Tribune published an eye-opening series highlighting widespread shortcomings within our justice system as it relates to gender-based crimes like sexual assaults. It described many barriers survivors face when reporting these crimes, and some deep flaws within the investigative processes, preventing proper prosecution.

If a report of a sexual assault is going to be made only for it to sit in a folder with no urgency toward an investigation, or a rape kit to be taken only to sit in a closet indefinitely, how can we expect victims to come forward in the future so we can hold bad actors accountable for their crimes?

No matter where they live in Minnesota, all survivors deserve justice. This legislative session, my colleagues and I are committed to enacting overdue improvements. These changes need to be victim-centered in nature, understanding that everyone who reports a crime like this has experienced significant trauma. In the course of an investigation, it’s imperative that they be listened to and believed.

Leading up to the legislative session, the Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) Board has issued overdue guidelines for every law enforcement agency in the state to develop a protocol on handling sexual assault cases. I am chief author of a bill making this mandatory.

Further, I’m carrying another bill which would create a working group to rewrite our state’s entire criminal sexual conduct law. In my work as a prosecutor, I’ve come across situations in which various loopholes made prosecution of cases in which there was clearly a sexual assault committed extremely difficult. This effort will be a heavy lift, but survivors of gender-based violence deserve to see this step taken.

As we work together to create solutions to these and other issues in our state, I encourage constituents to remain in touch with me. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-0141, email at, or on Facebook @RepKellyMoller. You’re also invited to attend “Chats with Kelly” the fourth Sunday of each month during session at Shore 96 in Shoreview at 1:30 p.m. I’m committed to being an accessible legislator, and I greatly value input from the community. I thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Rep. Kelly Moller represents all or part of Shoreview, Mounds View, Arden Hills, and Spring Lake Park in the Minnesota House.