ST. PAUL — The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Monday, Feb. 18, advanced a proposal to require members of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission to be confirmed by the state Senate on a 6-3 vote.
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, brought the proposal and said that after the commission earlier this year voted to cap probation sentences for most felony offenses at five years, he felt the need to implement another check on the board's power. Members of the panel are appointed by the governor or the Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice.
And under Limmer's bill, the members would also have to be approved by the Senate to serve on the panel.
"Now that (the commission is) moving more and more on a regular basis it appears, that they're making policy that should be made in this body, in the Legislature, we should at least have confirmation of the members on the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and let senators approve who is on that commission," Limmer said.
Opponents in the committee raised concerns about the confirmation process potentially politicizing the commission, but ultimately the bill passed.
The measure would have to be approved by the Republican Senate and Democratic House of Representatives before it could become law. And Gov. Tim Walz said last week the measure would be dead on arrival if it makes it to his desk.
"That bill is never going to happen," Walz told reporters on Friday.