Bluestem is no friend of private prisons, so this fact check relates only to a claim made about legislation related to the Appleton prison in a lit piece Representative Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, has been distributing in doorknocks and lit drops in Minnesota House District 17A.
As the photo above shows, the lit piece states that Andrew Falk "Never proposed or offered a bill addressing the Appleton prison closure." The prison closed in February 2010, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio.
Falk maintains otherwise, stating that he worked with the late State Senator Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, on language that would require the Department of Correction to house prisoners in the Appleton prison.
Kubly, who died in of ALS in March 2016, represented the old Senate District 20 prior to redistricting in 2012. Then-state representative Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, won the special election to fill the vacant Kubly seat, then secured the SD17 seat in the 2012 general election by defeating state senator Joe Gimse (old SD 13), R-Willmar, when redistricting landed both men in the same new district.
Miller's claim that Falk "never" proposed or offered a bill addressing the Appleton prison is false.
No later than December 31, 2010, the commissioner of corrections shall transfer 50 percent of the offenders incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Moose Lake to a privately owned and operated medium security correctional facility within the state if the commissioner is able to negotiate an agreement to do so with the facility. If the commissioner is unable to successfully negotiate an agreement with the facility, the commissioner shall transfer the offenders to other state or locally operated correctional facilities or to privately owned correctional facilities in other states.
While not being accurate about Falk's record, Miller has been successful in making the closed prison more of an issue for the district. Koenen had served in the House until the special election in 2012, but didn't sign on to the 2010 Falk-Kubly bill, and still beat Gimse in the 2012 special election.
In 2016, however, Koenen is the chief author of the senate companion bill, SF3192. Falk, on the other hand, now proposes buying the prison for its assessed tax value and re-purposing it as a mental health and substance abuse treatment center.
Photo: The Miller lit piece with the claim about Falk's inaction on the Appleton prison.
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