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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

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Minnesota House Passes Historic Public Safety Budget Bill

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Saint Paul, MN. – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed SF 2909, the Judiciary and Public Safety budget bill. The public safety portion of the bill invests in a diverse set of tools to improve public safety. It prioritizes a holistic approach on gun violence prevention, funding for law enforcement and victims of crime, juvenile justice reform, and more. This bill will create a safer Minnesota while working to break cycles of crime and violence.

In response to increasing gun violence, now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S., the bill includes a number of violence prevention measures. It implements criminal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from having them. It also includes a red flag law, creating an effective tool to prevent those likely to cause harm from doing so. Lastly, it makes historic investments in gun violence prevention research grants to determine the next best steps to end gun violence.

“Our committee has worked tirelessly to craft a public safety bill which invests in several proven methods to make Minnesota safer for everyone. This bill was crafted with significant input from stakeholders and criminal justice partners to ensure our final bill includes the perspective and expertise from those who represent every corner of our public safety system,” said Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL - Shoreview) Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “Our public safety bill takes historic action to combat gun violence, support law enforcement and victims, and invest in innovative strategies to break cycles of violence. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to craft a bill which meets current needs while laying the groundwork for a better and safer future.”

Support for law enforcement and victims are central to the bill, carrying significant investments for both. The legislation includes law enforcement priorities with a transformative investment for recruitment, retention, police education and training. It also makes significant investments to address and improve first responder mental health. Victims and survivors will receive the assistance they need through advocacy programs, housing supports, and state-paid sexual assault exams.

“All Minnesotans deserve to be safe in their communities,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Our public safety budget invests in both fighting crime with resources for law enforcement and community crime prevention. DFLers are dedicated to keeping people safe through common-sense measures like criminal background checks and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. We want everyone to be safe at home, in school, at work, and in our public spaces.”

This bill prevents crime before it happens with an unprecedented investment in community violence prevention grants. These grants will be used to fund a wide range of proven programs to address the root causes of crime and violence. This is a direct investment into communities that need it the most, while recognizing that new approaches and alternatives are needed.

“We have a gun violence epidemic in our country and in our state, and right now we are putting this on our kids. And we shouldn’t,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “We are at a point where the adults need to step up and protect our kids and make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. This public safety budget includes common sense gun violence prevention measures that Minnesotans overwhelmingly support. Democrats are committed to keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others.”

In order to break destructive cycles of violence and recidivism the public safety budget invests heavily in juvenile justice and rehabilitation reform. With funding for juvenile treatment homes, an Office of Restorative Practices, and youth intervention grants, this bill will have a transformative effect on juvenile justice in Minnesota. Through several critical measures like fully funding probation services and improved incarceration programs that provide treatment, education, and employment skills, this bill focuses on evidence-based approaches to rehabilitation. These strategies will allow us to reduce recidivism, ensuring that our justice system is not a revolving door.

Video of the floor debate will be uploaded to the House Information Youtube page. The spreadsheet of complete investments for the Public Safety and Judiciary budget can be downloaded here