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Senate DFL pitches $500 million public safety plan

(The Center Square) – Senate DFL members pitched a $500 million public safety plan to reduce crime by boosting spending on law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and alternatives to incarceration.

“The package of bills we’re announcing today are a comprehensive approach to public safety, which will reduce crime now and prevent crime tomorrow by providing more than $500 million in funding for law enforcement, community groups, and our criminal justice partners,” Senate DFL Leader Melisa López Franzen said in a statement. “These are serious proposals that recognize that while local communities are best equipped to determine what public safety looks like for them, it is our responsibility to step up and provide resources to make that vision possible.”

The four-bill package aims to invest in public safety to reduce and prevent crime  by investing in communities, the courts and the criminal justice system.

Senate File (SF) 4190 aims to invest in prevention, intervention, and diversion programs in juvenile justice. Appropriations aren’t yet listed in this bill.

SF 4195 would provide $100 million annually for public safety funding for local communities over the next three years, including youth conflict resolution centers and community-based public safety and police.

SF 4039 and SF 4194 would spend roughly $200 million on court systems, public safety, and violent crime reduction and establish the Public Safety Innovation Board.

“By establishing a Public Safety Innovation Board and grants, we can ensure that we are putting into practice the best possible policies and resources that address the root causes of rising crime and give the communities facing these increases the resources they need to address it,” Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a statement. “We also have to work to rebuild trust and accountability between communities and members of law enforcement. This legislation will do just that.”

Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grover, public safety committee chair, said Republicans had moved public safety bills to attract law enforcement, impose mandatory minimums, and reduce violent crime.

“Senate Republicans made public safety our top priority this session. We are already moving bills that will support law enforcement, hold criminals accountable, and shed light on the judicial decisions that affect the daily safety of Minnesotans,” Limmer said in a statement.

He noted the Senate has been in session since January 31, and the first deadline for bills is Friday.

Limmer added: “Three of their four proposals were introduced yesterday, just days before the first committee deadline. It’s hard to be an obstructionist to something that didn’t exist for the first seven weeks of session.”

The public safety plan could get caught in a deadlock of election-year politics. Despite a $9.2 billion projected surplus, the Minnesota Legislature failed to stop a $2.7 billion payroll tax hike on businesses statewide, exacerbated by 40-year-high inflation and record gas prices.

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