Numerous bills related to criminal law advanced in House committees and on the House floor this week:
House Floor Action
- By an 85-47 vote, the House passed HF1467, the “Castle Doctrine” bill, which permits the use of lethal force in self defense in individuals’ homes, hotel rooms, cars, and boats. The bill is on Gov. Dayton’s desk awaiting his signature or veto.
- The House unanimously passed HF2246, a bill that clarifies impaired driving provisions in response to State v. Retzlaff, a 2011 Minnesota Court of Appeals decision. The companion bill, SF1825, has reached the Senate floor.
- By a 126-3 vote the House passed HF1043, which creates a gross misdemeanor for repeatedly tampering with motor vehicles.
- With just one No vote, the House passed SF1240, which modifies numerous forfeiture laws. The bill, which previously passed the Senate under the guidance of its lead author, lawyer-legislator Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville), was returned to that body for a unanimous concurrence with a House amendment. It now awaits gubernatorial action.
- The House Public Safety Committee approved HF1719, a bill that expands the DWI definition to include being under the influence of a drug, and by statutory cross-reference defines “drug” to mean “all medicines and preparations recognized in the U.S. Pharmacopeia or National Formulary and any substance or mixture of substances intended to be used for the cure, mitigation, or prevention of disease of either humans or other animals.” The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The House Public Safety Committee passed HF2508 and referred it to the House Government Operations Committee. The bill updates the statutory list of controlled substances. It also changes the “synthetic cannabinoid” definition and modifies the penalties for selling synthetic cannabinoids.
- The House Civil Law Committee approved HF2333, which clarifies motor vehicle fuel theft provisions. The bill was sent to the House floor.
- HF2491 was approved by the House Public Safety Committee. To distinguish them from orders for protection and restraining orders, the bill clarifies that domestic abuse no contact orders are criminal orders. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The House Judiciary Committee laid over HF1665, which adds felony convictions for fifth degree assault, domestic assault, and domestic assault by strangulation to the definition of “crime of violence.”
- The House Public Safety Committee passed HF2149, which would add female genital mutilation to the list of qualified domestic violence-related offenses. The bill, sponsored by lawyer-legislator Rep. Steve Simon (D-St. Louis Park), was sent to the House floor.
- HF1428, carried by lawyer-legislator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) was sent to the House floor by the House Judiciary Committee. Under current law, children between ages 14 and 17 can be prosecuted as extended jurisdiction juveniles for felony-level offenses; the bill would lower the extended jurisdiction age to 13 when violent offenses are committed.