ST. PAUL – Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate, with bipartisan support, passed the Judiciary and Public Safety budget. The bill provides constitutionally required and critical funding to keep Minnesotans safe. This budget focuses on safety, providing justice to victims of crimes, and providing law enforcement, judiciary, and correctional officers the support they need to do their job. The bill heads to Governor Walz for final approval.
The public safety budget provides significant support for first responders through pay raises for law enforcement officers and investments in training programs to help Minnesotans in the field. To keep Minnesotans safe, there are expansions included for the Violent Crime Enforcement Teams, which investigate serious crimes such as gangs and drug trafficking.
A major advancement included in the bill is Senator David Senjem’s (R-Rochester) provision that will close the “intoxication loophole” brought to light by a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a sexual assault conviction because the victim was voluntarily inebriated. Senator Senjem has led the way as the Senate has consistently supported and created stronger laws to combat sexual assault and to bring awareness to victims of sexual assault.
“We need to stand with the survivors of sexual assault during this turbulent time. The law should never be on the offender’s side and we must give survivors the justice they deserve,” said Senjem. “This bipartisan bill helps to protect our most vulnerable by prioritizing safety for all Minnesotans.”
Notably, this budget prioritizes the needs of victims to get the justice they deserve by increasing penalties for heinous crimes, provides investigative resources for crimes in the National Guard, and amending statutes that prioritize the criminal over the victim. Crimes against children are particularly terrible, and this bill increases penalties for criminals who traffic children and those who create or distribute child pornography, and also creates a new crime with severe penalties for child torture.
Additionally, included in the final Judiciary bill was ‘Mathew’s Law’, a provision authored by Senjem to increase safety protections for confidential informants.
Other Key Provisions Include:
- Matson Strong: Stiffens penalties for the attempted murder of a public safety official
- Travis’s Law: Requires 911 operators to include social service crisis teams for mental health calls
- Hometown Heroes: Financial support, training and resources for firefighters
- Ignition interlocks for repeat DUI offenders
- Tightening cases where no-knock warrants may be used
- Provides increased support for body cameras for law enforcement agencies
- Database improvements to track officer conduct through the Police Officer Standards and Training Board
- Department of Corrections requirement to provide identification cards and information on how to access public services and prevent homelessness, when releasing convicts at the end of their prison sentence