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Policy-only omnibus public safety bill heads to House floor

An omnibus public safety bill sailed through committee Tuesday with nary a word of debate and is now headed to the House floor.

The secret to the bill’s success?

It is policy only, and therefore makes no appropriations to fund public safety programs.

Those monetary fights will come later and be in a separate budget bill from the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.

Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview) is the committee chair and bill sponsor. She said none of the provisions in the bill are controversial.

Rather, HF1510 focuses on policy changes that reflect recommendations from the Department of Public Safety on measures that would clarify department procedures, modify duties the department must perform, and make conforming or technical changes in section 299A of state law governing the department.

The committee approved the bill, with a delete-all amendment, Tuesday and sent it to the House floor.

One provision would codify in law the procedures the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension must follow to modify the state’s criminal history system and warrant file to correct the records of someone falsely associated with a crime due to a stolen or mistaken identity.

Another provision would clarify the Department of Public Safety can accept “donations, nonfederal grants, bequests, and other gifts of money” to carry out its duties.

The bill would change rules about how people can receive reimbursement when they suffer an economic loss due to being a crime victim.

Current law prohibits crime victims from receiving reimbursement if they do not cooperate fully with police. The bill would add a new way a victim could show cooperation with police: a signed document submitted by a victim service, counseling, or medical professional involved in the case.

In a letter supporting this provision, Missions Inc. Programs stated: “For many victims of domestic violence, participation in a court case against the person who harmed them is re-traumatizing and/or dangerous … By allowing a victim services professional to attest to their cooperation, more victims will be able to access the financial restitution they are entitled to.”

Bills included in the omnibus public safety policy bill are:

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