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Update 11 a.m.: Pawlenty wants longer sex offender sentences

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Update 11 a.m.

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ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to double some sex offender sentences, the latest in a series of related moves over the years.

Under the Republican governor's plan, a first-degree sex offender would receive a sentence of at least 25 years, compared to about 12 years now.

While he won legislative approval to give life sentences to some who are convicted of particularly heinous sex crimes, Pawlenty this morning said that did not go far enough.

The governor said his proposal today would not cost the state more than $5 million, and no increase in cost would come for years.

Pawlenty summed up his philosophy about sex offenders: "They need to be kept off the street for as long as possible."

In the past, he has suggested the death penalty for some especially heinous crimes.

Today's proposal is the latest in a series of proposals from both parties to get tough on sex offenders, and longer sentences have been approved. The movement began after the death of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin in 2003 and the arrest of convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez in the crime. Sjodin's body was found near Crookston, Minn.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Update 8 a.m.

ST. PAUL (AP) -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty is seeking longer prison sentences for sex offenders.

Pawlenty plans to announce a legislative proposal for new sex offender sentencing guidelines at a Capitol news conference today.

He'll be joined by Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian and Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman. They are expected to also announce plans for a new online safety education program.

Pawlenty's office did not release further details about the proposals Monday evening.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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