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RELEASE: Reps. Novotny, Scott Statement on House Public Safety and Judiciary Bill

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

ST. PAUL — House Democrats approved their Public Safety and Judiciary Omnibus Bill this evening on a party line vote of 69-60. The bill makes thousands of incarcerated felons eligible for early release, reduces sentences for violent offenders, and provides hundreds of millions of dollars to non-profit organizations with little accountability.

“Democrats’ misplaced priorities will help criminals instead of protecting Minnesota communities,” said House GOP Public Safety Lead, Rep. Paul Novotny (R-Elk River). “This bill will put violent felons back on the streets by allowing them to serve only half of their prison sentence and fails to address the needs of law enforcement like helping recruit, train, and retain officers.”

Democrats’ “Get Out of Jail Free” card will allow those convicted of violent crimes including manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, assault, domestic assault to have their prison sentences reduced if they complete Department of Corrections programming.

Additionally, the bill continues two controversial gun provisions that fail to address root causes of violent crime, instead creating barriers for law-abiding Minnesotans to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

“To add insult to injury, as Democrats bend over backwards to take it easy on convicted felons, their gun proposals will turn otherwise law-abiding Minnesotans into criminals if they fail to follow complicated and burdensome new processes laid out in the bill. There are ways to keep neighborhoods safe and make sure firearms do not fall into the hands of criminals without violating civil rights. This bill dramatically misses the mark on both accounts and will make Minnesota less safe.”

The Judiciary portion of the bill hands the Human Rights Department a 56% budget increase to weaponize the office to investigate discrimination against employers, housing providers, educational institutions, and more. 

“House Republicans have deep concerns with the significant budget increase to the Human Rights Department,” said House GOP Judiciary Lead, Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover). “Government bureaucrats should not be determining what is, or is not, hate speech or incidences of bias. The Judiciary portion of the Public Safety bill is an overreach of government that will be used to weaponize the Human Rights Department and squelch free speech.”


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