Lawmakers approve bill to strengthen neglect lawsby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The intentional neglect of vulnerable adults or children could be classified as a felony crime, under legislation sent to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Legislators took final action Thursday on the bill that changes Minnesota's current classification of such neglect as a misdemeanor.
The original measure was aimed specifically at the caregivers of vulnerable adults. But the House amended it with a provision that also covers the intentional mistreatment of children.
During the House discussion, Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, said the bill was a long time coming.
"The people who work on vulnerable adult issues have been working on this issue for more than a decade," she said. "And they are very proud to stand with all of the members of the House and make certain that they can prosecute people who do these things at a felony level."
Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, explained that the amendment to include the mistreatment of children was inspired by a case in her district were the parents of a 5-year old son are accused of chaining the boy to his bed. Under current law they can only be charged with a gross misdemeanor.