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Public safety provisions now law (new law)

Published (5/16/2008)
By Craig Green
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Sponsored by Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-Mpls), this year’s omnibus public safety policy law was signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty May 12.

With language from 10 different bills, and initially drafted as a reentry omnibus bill, the new law:

• requires the Department of Corrections to develop a marketing plan with the Department of Employment and Economic Development to attract private businesses to employ inmate services through MINNCOR Industries;

• requires inmates who do not have a primary address to notify local authorities where they will be going at least three days before they leave a correctional facility;

• adjusts the timing of petitions for civil commitment hearings dealing with those who may be deemed a sexually dangerous person or have a sexually psychopathic personality;

• requires registration as a predatory offender for anyone convicted of a comparable offense in another state;

• requires a court to ask if a convicted defendant is a member or a veteran of the armed forces, whether he or she has been diagnosed with mental illness, and if so, consider appropriate treatment;

• calls for a study group to consider the impact on presumption of joint physical custody of children after divorce; and

• establishes a working group to discuss the state’s controlled substance laws, with a report due to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2009.

Several provisions were pulled from the bill before delivery to the governor, including: prohibiting employers from using records of an arrest or pending criminal proceeding against a potential employee; prohibiting registered sexual offenders from accessing social networking Web sites that permit minors to have a personal Web page; and establishing a certificate of good conduct, which would allow someone with a criminal conviction to apply for a state-issued certificate stating they have been rehabilitated.

The law has various effective dates.


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