- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers have voted to reduce drug sentences for many drug offenders.

Friday’s unanimous vote in the House overrides an earlier decision by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission that would have made more drastic changes. The Senate approved the bill earlier this week. It now heads to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk.

The legislation would slash sentences for some first- and second-degree drug charges while reserving harsher treatment for violent offenders and big-time dealers. The reductions are expected to free up hundreds of prison beds as Minnesota struggles with overpopulated facilities.

The Legislature had veto power over the commission’s unilateral action late last year. The broader sentence reductions had been set to take effect in August.

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