The Minnesota House passed a bill Monday in a vote along party lines that would allow residents convicted of a number of felonies to work in programs overseen by the Department of Human Services.
Pinto’s bill would require the DHS to consider granting a “set aside or variance” for “an individual who was disqualified for a crime or conduct listed under section 245C.15, subdivision 1” and if more than 20 years have passed since the individual was either sentenced or committed the crime.
The bill would apply to positions that require a DHS background check, such as Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), services for Minnesotans with disabilities, and Non-Emergency Medical Transportation drivers.
Crimes listed under section 245C.15, subdivision 1, include:
- Felony-level stalking
- Drive-by shooting
- Malicious punishment of a child
- Solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct
- Murder of an unborn child in the first degree
- Domestic assault by strangulation
- Child abuse or neglect
- Spousal abuse
- Domestic assault
- Murder in the first, second, and third degree
In a press release, Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu (R-North Branch) noted that these crimes “would fall under the crimes that must be considered for a set-aside or variance.”
“This bill opens the door to allowing literal murderers and child sex offenders to work alongside Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens with no guarantees or safeguards that they have been rehabilitated and ready to rejoin the workforce,” she said, though she does point out that there are some crimes that are “exempted in the bill,” such as criminal sexual conduct.
“Too often this session, Democrats have been focused on restorative justice by any means necessary, even if it puts Minnesotans at risk,” Neu added.
The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration, where it is sponsored by State Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul).
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “Minnesota Capitol House Chambers” by Chris Gaukel. CC BY-SA 2.0.