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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Walter Hudson (R)

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Legislative update

Friday, March 17, 2023

Dear Neighbor,

My most recent newsletter regarding a House bill that would create a Department of Children, Youth, and Families sparked some great feedback. Let’s start today’s newsletter by responding to some questions I’ve received on that subject.

The new department, which the governor is pushing, would oversee:

  • Child care and early learning programs.
  • Child support, safety and permanency, and family focused community programs.
  • Economic support and food assistance programs.
  • Youth opportunity and older youth investments.

While many of the details regarding the ins and outs of this new agency remain unclear, a news release from the governor’s office issued last month may shed some additional light on the subject. It reads, in part:

“This proposed new state agency will provide focused leadership in our executive branch and with the legislature. In addition, this will move us closer to ensuring every child has a safe place to call home, no child goes hungry, and youth have the resources and supports to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. This new agency will have a whole family focus, bringing together core programs from early childhood and education through youth.”

In other words, because it bears repeating: The governor and House Democrats are pushing to replace the love and intimacy only a family can provide with clinical bureaucracy and tainted ideology. This mash-up of failed agency models will view children through a statistical lens rather than focusing on more nuanced aspects such as behaviors, culture, habits, and values.

That’s not to dismiss the importance of the aforementioned bullet-pointed subjects. Those issues do warrant attention and we owe it to our children to make improvements where we are failing them. Here’s the rub: The solutions should be found through empowering parents, not by creating large-scale bureaucracy on an insidious mission that undoubtedly will drive a wedge between parents and children.

In other news:

Safe & Sound Minnesota

House and Senate Republicans recently hosted a press conference and unveil our Safe & Sound Minnesota public safety plan as our state continues suffering escalated rates of violent crime. Our common-sense solutions would help officers do their jobs, ensure our laws are enforced, and hold criminals accountable. 

Legislation I personally authored (H.F. 216) is a key component in the package, increasing sentences for offenders with two or more prior crimes of violence convictions – and requiring them to serve the entire announced sentence in custody. Leniency has caused a revolving door for violent criminals that my bill would stop before more bad history can repeat itself.

This approach is in direct contrast to Democrats in St. Paul, who seem more interested in reducing criminal penalties and even focusing on the rights of the offenders instead of protecting victims. They even have a bill (H.F. 1100) forcing car manufacturers to install anti-theft devices on older vehicles while turning a blind eye to the criminals themselves.

The disconnect we’re seeing from Democrats on public safety appears to hinge on their premise these violent crimes are not necessarily heinous acts committed by criminals, rather these are actions borne of oppression, and rehabilitation is the way to stop senseless killings and carjackings.

Except this is real life, where appropriate consequences must be levied against anyone who violates the public trust and all debts to society must be paid in full, ensuring justice for victims. Yes, rehabilitation is vitally important; however, justice must receive top priority if we are to make our streets safer.

Overall, the Safe & Sound Minnesota plan is designed to confront the threat of violent and repeat criminals, strengthen police, and improve training for law enforcement, and hold judges and prosecutors accountable with public data and information.  

The package includes 17 different bills from 15 different Republican authors across the state. Confronting the criminal threat would include new laws to add a new crime of carjacking to state statute, increase penalties for fleeing police in a motor vehicle, align fentanyl to the same weight thresholds and penalties as heroin, and increase sentences for those convicted with at least two prior crimes of violence.

To address crimes of gun violence, the package specifically increases the penalty for transferring a firearm to an ineligible person and requires a court to ensure someone who has been ordered to give up their firearms has indeed done so.  

Tough laws and great cops can only do so much, however. The Safe & Sound Minnesota plan also puts in place transparency and accountability measures for the state’s courts. New data reporting would help legislators and the public understand how many felony-level offenses go uncharged, as well as a database by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission for the public to conduct research about judges and their decisions to follow criminal sentences created by the legislature. 

To address concerns that violent, repeat offenders are too often released, there is a new mandatory minimum sentence for dangerous criminals who commit crimes with a firearm. Finally, the plan would also make who posts bail payments public data. Recent scrutiny on non-profits bailing out violent criminals shows Minnesotans are at risk when these non-profits aren’t held accountable for their decisions.

Have a good weekend and, as always, please stay in touch.



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