Republican State Representative Drew Christensen of Savage is behind a bill that would require harsher penalties for school employees and independent contractors who engage in sexual relationships with students ages 16 to 21.

He said, “We’ve seen a number of instances over the last 12 years or so of teachers having inappropriate sexual relationships with students that prosecutors are unable to prosecute due to the students oftentimes being seniors in high school who are already 18 years old.”

The bill would make such an act a felony level offense–criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. Democrat Jamie Becker-Finn of Roseville supports the measure and says, “When one of the parties can’t consent, there’s no “sex with” happening; these are young people that are potentially being victimized by people who are in these positions of authority.”

In addition to teachers, the bill would also apply to violations committed by other school staff, including bus drivers, independent contractors and volunteers.