Minnesota is a step closer to making the nonconsensual, over-the-clothes buttocks grab illegal.
The tweak to existing state laws went before the Minnesota House public safety committee on Wednesday, which approved it and sent it to the House floor.
A counterpart version in the Senate was also sent to the floor last week.
Wait, it's not already illegal?
Well, depending on the situation, there's a way it could be constituted an assault or disorderly conduct, as MPR describes.
But as a sex offense? No, it was excluded from the law designating what constitutes 5th degree criminal sexual conduct when it came into law in 1988.
Under the current statute, it says that nonconsensual sexual contact "does not include the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks."
This section has been struck out in the amended bill presented to the House by Republican Rep. Gina Barr (52B-Inver Grove Heights).
Should the bill be passed, the Pioneer Press reports it would make grabbing clothed buttocks in an aggressive or sexual manner the same level of crime as groping other private parts, trying to pull off someone's underwear, and masturbating or exposing yourself in front of a child under 16.
It would therefore carry a maximum penalty or a year in prison and a $3,000 fine for a first offense.
The amendment comes after the growing discussion surrounding the #MeToo movement, and what constitutes appropriate sexual behavior at the national level.
Two Minnesota lawmakers also resigned from their posts this past winter after being accused of sexual misconduct by other lawmakers.
Two lawmakers who originally sponsored the 1988 law told MPR they think the original omission of butt-grabbing might have had something to do with not wanting football coaches to get in trouble for butt-patting a player.