Hello from St. Paul,
This week, House Republicans unveiled a comprehensive plan that’s designed to keep Minnesotans safe by combating crime and giving law enforcement the support they need in order to better protect the public.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that two thirds of neighborhoods in Minneapolis saw an increase in overall crime in 2019—including a 70 percent spike in the Minneapolis Downtown East neighborhood. 2019 saw an all-time high in serious crimes committed on Metro Transit light rail, and St. Paul saw a doubling in the homicide rate in 2019, much of it connected to gang violence.
In addition, Minnesota’s Violence Crime Enforcement Teams saw major increases in the amounts of meth, heroin, and cocaine compared to 2018—much of it being trafficked by gangs and produced and smuggled into the United States by Mexican drug cartels.
To combat this issue, we’ve unveiled a series of proposals designed to improve public safety. They include more funding for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for gang and drug trafficking efforts; strengthened penalties for gang members who use firearms in a crime; increased enforcement of light rail fare evasion, more officers for Metro Transit police, and interactive cameras installed on light rail platforms.
If you travel to the Twin Cities for any reason you shouldn’t have to worry about your safety. Everyone deserves to feel safe if they’re walking around the downtown areas or riding the light rail. It’s an issue that affects us all, and it’s time to act.
In other public safety news, my “Brooklyn’s Law” proposal will soon be headed for a Minnesota House floor debate. This bill would establish a misdemeanor for traffic violations that cause great bodily harm or death to someone. In 2016, 11-year-old Brooklyn Larson died in Chisago County after being struck by a driver who had gone through a stop sign. The driver’s only punishment was a fine for a stop sign violation. I am sponsoring this bill not only to make needed changes to state law, but to honor her memory.
I’ve also requested a hearing on my bill that would increase penalties for distracted driving.
Legislation I’m offering that would allocate money back to the Department of Administration in order to begin constructing the Medal of Honor Memorial is also in place.
I was pleased to see a number of local residents stop by my office this week. A group of local firefighters stopped by to discuss a number of public safety bills.
A group of Stillwater High School students toured the Capitol and discussed education opportunities and goal setting.
And as some of you might recall, I also serve as a wrestling official for the Minnesota State High School League, which keeps me busy during the winter months. This weekend I’ll be officiating the Section 7AA Individual Tournament at Mora High School.
Have a good weekend,