Senator Ron Latz (DFL-Saint Louis Park), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released his omnibus Judiciary Finance Bill today that includes solid funding for the state’s struggling judicial and corrections systems. The legislation will invest into several departments that have been hit hard by past budget cuts.
“The judiciary budget has been very tight while they take on more and more cases, creating case backlogs and delays of justice for our citizens and businesses,” said Sen. Latz. “Investing now will ultimately lead to greater government efficiency and ensure Minnesotans’ constitutional right to due process.”
Among the investments included in the legislation is new funding for the Public Defense Board. The funding will provide for new hires that are necessary to cut down on caseloads for current employees and improve on current inefficiencies in the public defense system.
The legislation also makes an investment in the Corrections Department. If passed, the legislation will provide for 100 additional chemical dependency beds. Senator Latz believes that this investment on the front end will decrease recidivism, increase public safety and save the state money in the long run.
“This legislation focuses on methods that are proven to reduce recidivism. This is better for offenders, for the public and the budget,” said Sen. Latz. “By investing in reducing recidivism, we can prevent offenders from re-entering the system and increasing future costs.”
The legislation was heard in the Senate Judiciary Finance Division and passed with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill will now head to the full Senate Finance Committee.