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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Thursday, February 9, 2012
By State Representative Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) A young father receives a phone call from the mother of his child who currently has a no-contact order against him. She tells him that she needs to go to work but cannot find a babysitter to watch their infant son. Due to the current state of Minnesota law, this man must now choose between leaving his infant child without proper supervision and facing potential legal penalties for violation of the order against him. I have recently authored a bill, Minnesota House File 1844, that attempts to prevent situations like this from being used as a tool for retaliation. HF1844 was heard by the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee last week and would mandate that a standard misdemeanor fine be charged to anyone who attempts to knowingly use a protection or no-contact order to entrap or harass the other party. Irene Wade Benjamin, a member of the Mille Lacs Band, testified before the committee about her son’s struggle with the current protection order law. She was a tremendous help and I am thankful that she was willing to come and tell her story. I will continue to work with members of the community, like Ms. Benjamin, and hope to hear more stories and input on the matter. I also plan to discuss this legislation with the director of programming at the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Liz Richards, who has offered to work with me to create the best possible solution to this issue. This bill serves as the beginning of the conversation legislators should have so we can reform the way our legal system maintains fairness and accountability to Minnesotans. Government must strive to protect all of its citizens, and for those dealing with this type of court order, the balance of power is askew. You can track the bill’s progress on the Minnesota State Legislature Revisor’s Office website: My email is and my office number is (651)296-6746. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on this bill or on the legislative session.
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