Protecting Minnesotans from bad actors who use state resources maliciously is behind proposed legislation passed by the House 114-14 Wednesday.
HF3400 would the give secretary of state’s office the ability to set aside clearly fraudulent liens filed to harass or intimidate.
Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL-St. Paul), the bill sponsor, has said it is an easy way to protect people without infringing on anyone’s rights.
Lien filings that are harassing or retaliatory in nature show common characteristics and are often filed against corrections officers, law enforcement personnel, judges or elected officials.
Strawman filings can also be the first step in other fraudulent activities.
Generally, the fraudulent claims are easy for Office of the Secretary of State staff to pick out: inexact addresses, naming people “deep state traitors” or including unnecessary and personal documents like birth certificates.
Often targets of harassment don’t know they’ve had these claims filed against them until they go to make a large purchase like a home or a car. And to get claims removed under current law, they must retain a lawyer and go to court, which can cost thousands of dollars and possibly delay other transactions for months.
Filers would be able to appeal if they believe their claim was improperly rejected, and there would be a way to remove claims later shown to be fraudulent if the staff did not see it at the time of filing.
About half the states have similar legislation.
The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton) is the sponsor.