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Bill to criminalize intentionally groping someone’s butt passes out of Minnesota Senate committee

A Minnesota Senate committee has approved a measure to criminalize groping someone’s buttocks.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal Tuesday that would eliminate a more than 30-year-old exemption that allowed the behavior in the state’s sexual misconduct laws. The exception was originally added because lawmakers thought criminal penalties were too severe.

A push to eliminate the exemption began last year after women came forward with stories of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement. Two legislators resigned from office in 2017 after being accused of repeated sexual advances on women.

Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove, is sponsoring the bill. It would make touching someone’s buttocks over their clothing, on purpose, fifth-degree criminal sexual misconduct.