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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Marion Rarick (R)

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Legislative Update

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

Here is the latest news from Saint Paul.

Public Safety Committee - Last Week

Last Wednesday, February 6, the Corrections sub-committee of the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy and Finance Division held a hearing in the Stillwater Prison. Although committee hearings have been held outside of the Capitol before, this is the first time in the state’s history that a committee hearing has been held in a prison. Lawmakers had the opportunity to tour the prison before the hearing and to hear directly from the prison employees as they testified with concerns about staffing levels and safety. Last July, Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm was killed by an inmate in Stillwater Prison. In September, Corrections Officer Joseph Parise died of a medical emergency after intervening in an assault on a fellow officer in the Oak Park Heights Prison. The direct input of the people who work in the same environment as these officers is invaluable as we consider legislation meant to ensure their safety and prevent any other tragedies.

Public Safety Committee - This Week

In 2017, I carried legislation to create a grant program to establish a pilot that would provide alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug offenders who have not committed new crimes, but are being sent back to prison for technical violations. The program gave probation officers the option to offer treatment in lieu of prison sentences. Anoka County received a grant and began the pilot program in 2018. They saw a sixty-one percent drop in prison admissions. This Wednesday, I will have a bill heard in the Public Safety Committee to expand that program.

This approach helps offenders by addressing the source of their behavior: addiction. It also helps the state by allowing us to prioritize limited resources and focus on high risk offenders. It's part of a larger, bi-partisan effort to work on community centered Public Safety. Legislators and various community and Corrections leaders will be holding a press conference today to discuss our efforts.

Enbridge Line 3

Last Friday, I joined 76 other legislators from the Minnesota House and Senate in sending a letter to urge Governor Walz not to add any unnecessary roadblocks to the Line 3 replacement pipeline. The Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal filed by the Department of Commerce to reverse the Public Utilities Commission’s decision to grant the certificate of need for Line 3. This morning, Governor Walz chose to re-file the appeal. I'm disappointed in his decision. Replacing the aging pipeline is an issue of safety; it's past time to let this project move forward.


As always, if you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is  357 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.



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