LOCAL LAWMAKERS PROPOSE LEGISLATION TO PROTECT KIDS FROM SEX OFFENDERS
CHISAGO CITY, MN – Today State Representative Jeremy Kalin (DFL – Chisago County) and State Senator Rick Olseen (DFL – Chisago and Isanti counties) were joined by local law enforcement officials and concerned residents outside Chisago Lakes Primary School announcing a new, multifaceted legislative approach to protecting Minnesota children from convicted sex offenders. The Safe Neighborhoods Act is aimed at preventing ex-cons from reoffending in Minnesota communities.
“One of government’s most important, fundamental roles is ensuring the safety of its citizens,” said Rep. Jeremy Kalin. “I take that responsibility very seriously – particularly when it comes to children in our community. Our kids deserve every protection the law can offer to prevent the irreparable damage of sexual abuse and molestation. We are taking steps today to help ensure safety for our kids in these neighborhoods, and all Minnesota citizens in every corner of the state.”
Recently, concerns have been raised by residents in the Chisago County area regarding a repeat predatory offender who moved into the community and reoffended. Since the convicted offender committed his original crime in a state that does not assign risk levels like Minnesota, he was not assigned a risk level when he settled in our state. Therefore, area residents were unaware of just how dangerous this predatory offender actually was – until it was too late. The outcome of his case is still pending.
“We need to know just how dangerous these ex-convicts are, the moment they move into our communities,” said Sen. Rick Olseen. “According to the United States Department of Justice, sex offenders are 4 times more likely as any other convicted criminal to engage in criminal sexual conduct after being released from prison. The Safe Neighborhoods Act will help keep our neighborhoods safe from the threat posed by these ticking time bombs.”
Legislation proposed today by Rep. Kalin and Sen. Olseen would fill loopholes in current state law to help keep communities aware of who and where sex offenders are in Minnesota neighborhoods. Specifically the new laws would:
1. Establish a process to assign risk level to all out-of-state sex offenders moving to Minnesota whose original out-of-state offense would be a felony if committed in Minnesota.
2. Enhance sentencing to create a felony for a third harassment or non-contact offense.
3. Require public web posting of all non-compliant Level I and Level II sex offenders who are not maintaining current registration with law enforcement.
4. Require Department of Corrections (DOC) Victim Services training as part of licensing and continuing education for child care providers, nursing homes and groups, school principals, and social workers.
Kalin and Olseen plan to introduce the legislation when the Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009.