A key Republican state senator is signaling he's likely to back changes to Minnesota's criminal sexual conduct laws.
A bipartisan proposal at the State Capitol would tackle gaps in Minnesota laws that advocates say make it difficult to successfully prosecute sexual assault cases when the victim is intoxicated, or is being coerced or blackmailed into a sexual relationship.
The issue was highlighted by a recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, which found that under existing law, an individual is only "mentally incapacitated" if involuntarily drugged or intoxicated.
The legislative proposal would add voluntary intoxication in the definition of mentally incapacitated, and make it a felony to engage in a sexual encounter with someone who is incapable of understanding or consenting.
The proposal has already had a hearing in the DFL-controlled House this session, but it got important backing last week when Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said it was a priority to fix this year. Limmer is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which plans a hearing on the proposal Wednesday.
"We have time to address the Supreme Court decision and provide victims the legal protection they deserve," Limmer said.