Senator Dan Schoen: Public Safety Bill Passes – Put’s Hastings, South Washington Counties at Risk

On March 28, the Omnibus Public Safety budget bill passed off the floor in the Minnesota Senate. I’m disappointed in the bill for a number of reasons, mostly because of the lack of support and funding for our police and firefighters.

One of my top concerns is that the Republican majority decided to let the rail and pipeline assessment, that currently pays for rail safety firefighter training, to expire this summer. All three of Minnesota’s major rail lines, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian Pacific, and Union Pacific, run dangerous crude oil through our district. Our firefighters, communities, and public safety officials must be trained to deal with a train derailment and the aftermath of hazardous spills or fire. Not supporting the continuation of this important funding puts the safety of our firefighters and communities at risk.

212121">I tried to amend the public safety bill to continue this essential funding for our communities. Unfortunately, my efforts were defeated by Senate Republicans. I am sick and tired of lawmakers claiming to support our police and firefighters, but when they have an opportunity to vote to make sure they are properly trained or departments property funded, they vote no. I will continue my commitment to reinstate this important program to protect our public safety personnel and our communities from dangerous rail accidents.

212121">In the past, when legislators were faced with budget deficits we had to make tough program cut choices – but we always made sure our communities were safe and our kids educated. With a $1.65 billion surplus, Minnesota is in a strong position to invest in important programs that benefit us all. Instead the Republican majority are advocating for huge tax giveaways for the wealthiest in the state at the expense of police officers, firefighters, and community safety.

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Dan Schoen represents District 54 in the southeast Twin Cities metro.

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