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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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House Passes Bill to Provide Adequate Funding for Public Defense System

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Saint Paul, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota of Representatives unanimously passed HF 90, a bill designed to adequately fund Minnesota’s public defense system. Minnesota’s public defense system has been chronically underfunded for decades. HF 90 increases funding to help Minnesota meet national standards for case loads, as well as providing for fair salaries for public defense staff.

“The funding this bill provides will ensure Minnesota meets its Constitutional obligation to provide justice for all,” said Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL - Roseville), the House Judiciary Committee chair and bill author. “This necessary funding is not a luxury, but is the least we can do to provide Minnesotans the rights they are entitled to.”

HF 90 will provide an additional $42.7 million in FY2024 and an additional $52.9 million in FY2025 to the Minnesota Board of Public Defense. Underfunding public defenders disproportionately affects low-income, BIPOC, and rural Minnesotans. This necessary increase in funding will help Minnesota’s public defense system become more equitable and benefit Minnesotans in all parts of the state.

You can watch the House floor debate here.