ST. PAUL – State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Fairmont) was hopeful the 2022 session would lead to numerous new laws that would keep repeat offenders behind bars and would entice more Minnesotans to consider law enforcement as a career choice. Unfortunately, most of those proposals did not receive a bill hearing in the Minnesota House this year.
“Ensuring resident safety is one of the core responsibilities of government,” Olson said. “Numerous House Republicans and House Democrats sponsored bills that would help keep our communities safer and would address law enforcement priorities. Unfortunately, the House majority’s committee chairman chose not to hear any of those proposals, meaning they could not move forward nor receive debate.”
Early this legislative session, Olson said 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. None of them received a hearing.
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.
Olson said bills that were heard by the House majority and moved forward would 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.
“While the House majority chose not to debate many of what I consider to be common sense public safety provisions, the Minnesota Senate has,” Olson said. “It’s my hope that by the end of session, many of the Senate’s public safety priorities will prevail and will eventually be signed into law.”