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HF 1680

1st Engrossment - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 05/15/2010 07:18pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A resolution
apologizing on behalf of citizens of the state to all persons with mental illness and
developmental and other disabilities who have been wrongfully committed to state

WHEREAS, since the founding of the state hospitals, now called regional treatment
centers, in 1866, tens of thousands of Minnesotans with mental illnesses and developmental
and other disabilities have been removed from Minnesota communities and committed to live
in state institutions, where many of these Minnesotans have died and been buried in unmarked
graves or graves that bore only a number; and

WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were forced to labor without
compensation; and

WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were subjected to medical
experiments and procedures without their consent, including the routine subjection of women
inmates to involuntary sterilizations; and

WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were subjected to punitive shock
treatments, frontal lobotomies, aversive treatments, and isolation; and

WHEREAS, thousands of children grew up in these state institutions learning none of the
comforts, joys, and cultural norms that are learned in family life; and

WHEREAS, thousands of parents whose children required intensive care were forced to
make painful decisions about whether to institutionalize their children or to provide all the care
and education they required themselves, incurring in the process immeasurable financial, career,
social, and familial burdens; and

WHEREAS, parents of persons with developmental disabilities were sometimes advised to
institutionalize their children, and to break their familial bonds by making them wards of the state
irrespective of the family's and community's ability to support and nurture these children; and

WHEREAS, these fellow Minnesotans were portrayed by some as subhuman organisms, as
deviant individuals to be feared by society, and as eternal children unaccountable for their behavior
and incapable of speaking for themselves or shaping their own lives, which greatly diminished
their fellow citizens' ability and willingness to accept them for their own unique qualities; and

WHEREAS, institutional care for persons with developmental disabilities has been
scientifically demonstrated to be detrimental to people's basic development, including social
development, development of self-determination, and the development of the basic skills of
daily living; and

WHEREAS, many Minnesotans once viewed this institutional treatment as acceptable and
subjected tens of thousands of citizens to it, but now recognize how wrong this treatment was; and

WHEREAS, Minnesota's state institutions are closing and, through this process, their
history and the acknowledgment of our collective responsibility for it may be forgotten; and

WHEREAS, people who were relegated to state institutions and their families have never
received a formal apology from the state; and

WHEREAS, the states of Virginia, Oregon, South Carolina, California, and North Carolina
have apologized for similar actions towards people with disabilities in their own states; NOW,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota on behalf of the citizens of
the state that the state apologize publicly to all persons with mental illness and developmental and
other disabilities who have been wrongfully committed to state institutions, acknowledging that it
regrets this history of institutionalization of persons with those disabilities, and that it commits
itself in their memory to move steadfastly to help Minnesotans with those disabilities who in the
future turn to the state for services to receive them in the least restrictive manner.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is
directed to prepare an enrolled copy of this resolution and transmit it publicly to appropriate
organizations of people with disabilities and to the news media.