Bill: Ban headwear in license photos

A St. Cloud legislator says a bill that would ban any kind of headwear in a driver's license photo is a matter of public safety. But some Muslims say they have a religious right to cover their heads.

Republican Rep. Steve Gottwalt says banning headwear would make it easier for law enforcement to identify people and it would make it fair for everyone.

But Suban Khalif says Muslim women wear a head scarf nearly 24 hours a day as part of their religion, and taking it off -- even for a few minutes -- is a big deal. Khalif and other Muslim women say their facial features should be enough for law enforcement to identify them.

Gottwalt's bill has exceptions. If a person has a deformity or a medial condition that requires headwear, then it can be word for the driver's license picture. Gottwalt says he's hoping to get a committee hearing for the bill soon.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sex trafficking is target of legislation

A bill introduced Monday would include sex trafficking on a list of crimes of violence and would increase penalties for certain situations, such as when a victim is injured.

The bill authored by Sen. Sandy Pappas, a St. Paul DFLer, would also provide training and public awareness and would help victims get access to services such as health care and legal representation.

Pappas says those parts of the bill would cost money, so she's focusing on changes to the criminal statutes this session and hopes the rest will be implemented later.

Human rights advocates say prostitution and sex trafficking can increase during bad economic times.

ASSOCIATED PRESS