Current law permits a sheriff to charge an inmate to stay in a local jail; however, a Supreme Court decision last December ruled that the pay to stay provision does not extend to days spent in jail pre-conviction because statute used the term “offender,” rather than “person.”
“Persons were getting something like a 90-day sentence and they’d already sat in county jail 60 days before that, and they were getting credit for time served,” said Rep. Dave Olin (DFL-Thief River Falls). “That 60 days was never subject to the pay to stay.”
Sponsored by Olin, HF3038 would clarify the intent of the law that was passed in 2002.
“This just takes care of a glitch to make it consistent so all the time they do in a county jail on any sentence is subject to the pay to stay if it’s a situation they can make the payments,” he said.
Rick Hodsdon, legal counsel for the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, said some counties don’t require inmates to pay for staying; rather they want the offender’s money to go toward other things like child support or restitution.
“This is property tax relief that doesn’t cost a dime of state money,” he said, adding the bill would have about a $1 million annual impact on local governments.
Approved Feb. 25 by the House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee, it awaits action by the full House. A companion, SF2709, sponsored by Rep. Pat Pariseau (R-Farmington), was scheduled to be heard March 4 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Turn your key and breathe
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