Kiffmeyer says successful mental health programs need to prevent tragedies like one in Buffalo; state sentencing guidelines and history also on senator’s mind

I want to start off by expressing my deepest condolences to the citizens of Buffalo following the horrific shooting that took place at the Allina Health Clinic last week. The man who committed this heinous act had a documented history of run-ins with the law and severe mental illness. To prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future we need to focus on implementing more successful mental health programs. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with those injured in the shooting, the family of the nurse who lost her life, the staff and patients at the clinic, as well as the community of Buffalo as a whole. In a year that has already been extremely difficult for our front-line healthcare workers, this is heart breaking.

In the Judiciary Committee this past week, my colleagues and I heard from the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, a nonelected body that decides minimum guidelines on how criminals are charged. The specific discussion in committee was around how criminals who participate, create, and distribute child pornography are charged. The commission wants to go easy on criminals and ignore the child victims.

When a child suffers repeated pain through production and distribution, the criminal should have the same treatment. For every redistribution of the graphic content, the criminal should receive another sentence. These people have proved to be the most heinous among us and removing them from society for a much longer period is a great benefit to the public. I will be co-authoring a bill to overrule the Commission through laws that would severely punish offenders by sentencing each occurrence and provide greater justice to the innocent victims of these terrible crimes and help stop future crimes against our children.

Another pressing issue that many of you have reached out about is the draft social studies standards being reviewed by the Minnesota Department of Education under the direction of Gov. Walz. You have heard of rewriting history; this is erasing history. Historic events such as the Civil War, both World Wars, the Holocaust, and even 9/11 were not included in the first draft.

By erasing history, our children would miss the opportunity to learn about the heroic efforts of Valley Forge, to Minnesota’s infantry in the Civil War in the battle to end slavery, the honorable conduct of the many minorities like the Tuskegee airman in World War II and horrors the Jewish people endured during the Holocaust. This is the world’s history; it is factual and the truth. To not teach it to our children does not change that it happened. There are valuable lessons to be learned from studying history and I will not stand for erasing it.

I remain committed to fighting for your needs at the Capitol in any way I can. I am always available to talk and encourage you to reach out to my office with your questions, comments and concerns. — Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake (Editor’s: Kiffmeyer said to reach her to call her at 651-295-5655 or email her at Sen.Mary.Kiffmeyer@senate.mn.)

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