House panel highlights bills against gender-based violence

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Several Minnesota legislators have launched an effort to strengthen laws against gender-based violence.

A House criminal justice reform committee is holding three days of hearings this week on bills to close loopholes and fill the gaps in Minnesota’s statutes.

The committee chairman, Rep. Carlos Mariani, said at a news conference Tuesday the justice system for too long has failed sexual assault victims and survivors.

The proposals include requiring law enforcement agencies to adopt model standards for conducting conduct sexual assault investigations. Another would define non-consensual intentional touching of another person’s clothed buttock as criminal sexual conduct. Another would create a task force on the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Several of the proposals had bipartisan support last session but died amid the partisan rancor in the closing days.

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