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Minn. bill doubles prison time for some sex crimes

ST. PAUL — A proposal to more than double prison sentences for the most serious sex crimes gets its first legislative hearing Tuesday.

The House public safety committee considers legislation that would increase the recommended sentence for first-degree sex offenses from 12 years to 25 years. The longer sentence would apply to sex crimes involving force, threat of physical harm, dangerous weapons or underage or mentally impaired victims.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder, who also heads the public safety panel. It extends a push started last year by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Some violent first-time sex offenders and some repeat sex offenders can draw the harshest penalty available in Minnesota law — life in prison without possibility of parole. Cornish's proposal would expand beyond that group.

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