ST. PAUL (AP) - A public safety package that would toughen penalties for sex offenders while cutting spending on prisons, legal services, crime victim programs and the state's anti-discrimination office has cleared the House.

The bill passed on a 71-59 vote Thursday after Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy predicted the cost-cutting could lead to early release of prisoners or a prison closing.

Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, dismissed Roy's comments as a "scare tactic."

Cornish says the bill would keep criminals behind bars and law enforcement adequately funded.

Democrats say the proposal would push costs for incarceration and offender services onto county property taxes. They are also decrying a 65 percent funding cut for the state Human Rights Department, which investigates discrimination claims in housing, education, public services and employment.

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