ST. PAUL -- Any appointments to the state commission that sets sentencing guidelines for criminal offenses would need the approval of the Minnesota Senate, under a bill Republicans are moving forward but Democrats strongly oppose.

G-O-P lawmakers have criticized the Sentencing Guidelines Commission for setting a five-year cap on probation -- plus a now-scrapped plan they warn would reduce sentences for those who commit crimes while on probation.

Republican Senator Warren Limmer from Maple Grove:

"We have a commission with members who are moving towards acting very much like a de facto legislature."

But Saint Louis Park Democrat Ron Latz says the Sentencing Guidelines Commission is appointed, not elected, for a reason:

..."Take it out of the partisan battles that the legislature inherently gets involved in because we are inherently a political body."

Latz notes some of the Commission's decisions have already been targeted in election campaigns.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network. 

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