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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Petersburg (R)

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

The legislative deadline for bills to be heard and move forward has passed, and numerous bills that would actually make our communities safer have been ignored by the Minnesota House Democrat majority.


Preventing crime is near the top of lawmakers’ priority lists this year, yet common sense bills that strengthen penalties and would put more peace officers on the streets can’t even get a hearing much less a vote.


Early this legislative session, House Republicans unveiled a package of bills that were designed to reverse the dramatic increase in crime by holding criminals responsible for their actions, help recruit and retain peace officers, and provide transparency to prosecution’s charging decisions and the court’s sentencing decisions. House Democrats refused to give them a hearing.


Even more shocking was that bills authored by House Democrats that were designed to tackle violent crimes and entice Minnesotans to make law enforcement their profession were also ignored. They include proposals that would enhance penalties for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle; provide expedited peace officer education and training; provide peace officer recruitment and retention bonuses reimbursement grants; provide grants for educating high school students on careers in law enforcement; and provide grants for secure treatment facilities for juveniles.


Instead, the House Democrat solution is to give money to violence-interrupters, grow the state government bureaucracy by tens of millions of dollars, and add dozens of new full-time employees in a St. Paul office building.


The good news is the Senate is prioritizing many common-sense public safety reforms, and it’s my hope they will eventually make their way to the Governor’s desk. Unfortunately, good legislation is being held hostage in the House, and that’s troublesome as we need to address the crime rate in Minnesota.