The state Senate after spirited debate passed a bill Monday afternoon to ease sentences for low-level drug offenses, while significant dealers and kingpins would face more prison time. Some lawmakers warn sentences for drug dealers will be lowered too much. Fairmont Republican Julie Rosen told her colleagues, “We cannot be soft on crime on this…. That’s exactly the wrong message that we are sending.” Bill sponsor, Saint Louis Park Democrat Ron Latz responded it’s a wrong move to send someone to prison if they’re primarily an addict. Latz says, “They become more dangerous to our community because they spent all that time in prison, than if they hadn’t spent time in prison and instead had gone to treatment.” Lawmakers are looking for ways to reduce Minnesota’s burgeoning prison population.
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