A vote at the Sentencing Guidelines Commission has re-ignited debate at the State Capitol whether probation should be capped at five years for felony offenses in Minnesota. Republican Representative Jim Nash from Waconia says the Commission may have violated the state’s open meeting law by taking action, at the urging of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, on an issue that was listed on the agenda for discussion only. The vote was reportedly not to recommend changes to probation guidelines, but to schedule a public hearing in mid December. Commissioner Schnell says that provides an opportunity for deeper engagement by the public. Representative Nash says taking action on an agenda item without proper notice violates the integrity of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, especially when the move was made by a member of the governor’s cabinet.
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