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No-contact order clarification

Published (3/2/2012)
By Mike Cook
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A bill receiving committee approval aims to clear up some confusion about domestic abuse no contact orders. These orders were created by a 2000 law.

“Domestic abuse no contact orders is a criminal order,” said Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing), who sponsors HF2491. “We’re not changing that; we’re simply stating that in the definition so it relieves some of the ambiguity in statute right now.”

The bill also aims to clarify that an order can be initiated at the same hearing as a pretrial release or sentencing proceeding.

Approved Feb. 28 by the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee, the bill was sent to the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. A companion, SF2134, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Liz Richards, director of advocacy and systems change at the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, said a 2010 law made some statutory changes including the moving of domestic abuse no contact orders from one section of family law into the criminal statute.

Since then there has been much confusion and concern about the statute, including the process set forth, she said. “These changes deal with the procedural questions.”

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