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HF 1680

as introduced - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 02/09/2010 01:53am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
1.1A resolution
1.2apologizing on behalf of citizens of the state to all persons with mental illness and
1.3developmental and other disabilities who have been wrongfully committed to state
1.5WHEREAS, since the founding of the state hospitals, now called regional treatment
1.6centers, in 1866, tens of thousands of Minnesotans with mental illnesses and developmental
1.7and other disabilities have been removed from Minnesota communities and committed to live
1.8in state institutions, where many of these Minnesotans have died and been buried in unmarked
1.9graves or graves that bore only a number; and
1.10WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were forced to labor without
1.11compensation; and
1.12WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were subjected to medical
1.13experiments and procedures without their consent, including the routine subjection of women
1.14inmates to involuntary sterilizations; and
1.15WHEREAS, some residents of these state institutions were subjected to punitive shock
1.16treatments, frontal lobotomies, aversive treatments, and isolation; and
1.17WHEREAS, thousands of children grew up in these state institutions learning none of the
1.18comforts, joys, and cultural norms that are learned in family life; and
1.19WHEREAS, thousands of parents whose children required intensive care were forced to
1.20make painful decisions about whether to institutionalize their children or to provide all the care
1.21and education they required themselves, incurring in the process immeasurable financial, career,
1.22social, and familial burdens; and
2.1WHEREAS, parents of persons with developmental disabilities were advised by
2.2Minnesota's medical professionals to institutionalize their children, and to break their familial
2.3bonds by making them wards of the state irrespective of the family's and community's ability to
2.4support and nurture these children; and
2.5WHEREAS, these fellow Minnesotans were portrayed by Minnesota public officials as
2.6subhuman organisms, as deviant individuals to be feared by society, and as eternal children
2.7unaccountable for their behavior and incapable of speaking for themselves or shaping their own
2.8lives, which greatly diminished their fellow citizens' ability and willingness to accept them for
2.9their own unique qualities; and
2.10WHEREAS, institutional care for persons with developmental disabilities has been
2.11scientifically demonstrated to be detrimental to people's basic development, including social
2.12development, development of self-determination, and the development of the basic skills of
2.13daily living; and
2.14WHEREAS, Minnesotans once viewed this institutional treatment as acceptable and
2.15subjected tens of thousands of citizens to it, but now recognize how wrong this treatment was; and
2.16WHEREAS, Minnesota's state institutions are closing and, through this process, their
2.17history and the acknowledgment of our collective responsibility for it may be forgotten; and
2.18WHEREAS, people who were relegated to state institutions and their families have never
2.19received a formal apology from the state; and
2.20WHEREAS, the states of Virginia, Oregon, South Carolina, California, and North Carolina
2.21have apologized for similar actions towards people with disabilities in their own states; NOW,
2.23BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota on behalf of the citizens of
2.24the state that the state apologize publicly to all persons with mental illness and developmental and
2.25other disabilities who have been wrongfully committed to state institutions, acknowledging that it
2.26regrets this history of institutionalization of persons with those disabilities, and that it commits
2.27itself in their memory to move steadfastly to ensure that all Minnesotans with those disabilities
2.28who in the future turn to the state for assistance will receive the assistance they need.
2.29BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is
2.30directed to prepare an enrolled copy of this resolution and transmit it publicly to appropriate
2.31organizations of people with disabilities and to the news media.