Securing Public Safety

Major Budget Items

Senate DFLers fought this session to ensure Minnesotans have their day in court, our corrections officers are properly compensated for an incredibly difficult job, and crime victims have the resources they need to recover and be supported by their communities.

The Judiciary and Public Safety omnibus bill included funding for essential court services like interpreters and psychologist, and provided for both physical and cybersecurity needs across the judicial branch.

The bill also ensured proper funding of our corrections system and allocated nearly $9.5 million in funding for crime victim services.

Funding was also included for a report on violence against Latina women and queer Latines, including recommendations to reduce and prevent such violence. (SF 4258)

$100,000 was provided to assist first responders in providing therapy dogs for their units.

$50,000 was provided for the Hmong American Mediation Center. (SF 5243)

New State Patrol Headquarters

Minnesota’s state patrol currently works out of six different locations spread across the metro as current space is limited and inefficient. Senate DFLers passed this year funding to establish a new patrol headquarters, which will streamline operations and improve the State Patrol’s ability to provide public safety services. (HF 5247)

Policy*

*All policy provisions were ultimate included in HF 5216. The hyperlinks to these bills are to the bills as introduced and may not represent final language as passed.

Gun violence prevention

Senate DFLers addressed gun violence this year by prohibiting binary triggers. Trigger activators, which can be added to a firearm to increase the rate of fire so rapidly it can act as a semi- automatic rifle, are already illegal in Minnesota. Binary triggers, however, which allow a firearm to shoot one shot on the pull of the trigger and a second shot on the release of the trigger, are not included, and this loophole is being exploited. A binary trigger was used in the Burnsville shooting.

Senate DFLers also increased the penalties for straw purchases, addressing individuals purchasing a firearm for somebody who is prohibited from having them. Straw purchases were also expanded to include all firearms, not only semi-automatic military style assault weapons and pistols, and now covers individuals who reasonably should’ve known they were purchasing a firearm for somebody prohibited from having them.

The legislature will also receive additional information on gun trafficking as well as recommendations for addressing the intersection of gun violence and domestic abuse, thanks to the establishment of a new task force and additional reporting requirements.

Gun trafficking and straw purchasing dangerously undermine states’ gun safety laws and drive the illegal firearms market. Data from a national survey of firearm licensees suggests that there are more than 30,000 attempted straw purchases each year.

The new gun violence prevention laws strengthen Minnesota straw purchase laws from multiple points and directly addresses many pieces that led to the shooting of three Burnsville first responders. The firearms were obtained through straw purchases and one of the firearms had a binary trigger. The new law provides law enforcement and prosecutors with additional tools to address straw purchases. (HF 2609; HF 5247)

Supporting domestic abuse victims and crime victims

Senate DFLers worked hard to protect crime victims and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault this session. From making it easier to file a police report for sexual assault victims to allowing for greater input from victims when an individual is being released from prison and making it easier to serve orders for protection and harassment restraining orders, victims will be better supported and protected. (SF 4093; SF 4413; SF 4952)

Advancing Criminal Justice, Rehabilitation, and Reducing Recidivism

95% of individuals in incarceration will return to their communities at some point. Senate DFLers remain focused on rehabilitation and reducing recidivism while ensuring there is fairness in the criminal justice system.

Senate DFLers protected the rights of minors this session by prohibiting law enforcement from using deceptive practices in order to coerce a confession from anyone under 18. (SF 2495)

A report on communications services in the state’s county jails, including an accounting of how commissions are spent, will provide transparency and guidance to the legislature. (HF 5216)

A number of provisions regarding higher education in prison will help support rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. (SF 4269)

A list of collateral consequences must be maintained by the Revisor of Statutes and made available to individuals going through the criminal justice system so they may better understand how their actions and pleas may affect their future. (SF 3313)

Individuals will also have easier access in bringing forward a petition for relief based on new evidence. (SF 2597)

Senate DFLers last session passed a bipartisan effort to reform Minnesota’s aiding and abetting felony murder laws. A drafting error left part of this new law in question. The error was fixed this session, ensuring proper access to relief for those who qualify for it under last year’s law. (SF 3669)

Gay/Trans Panic Defense Removed

11 states have banned using the discovery of or knowledge about a person’s sexual orientation as a defense for using force against that person, often known as a gay or trans panic defense. Minnesota became the 12th state this session, prohibiting using the idea that somebody panicked when they found out a person was gay or trans and harmed them as a result as a defense for that harm in court. (SF 1964)

Good Samaritan Law expanded

Minnesota’s Good Samaritan law only extends to those making the 911 call in a drug-overdose situation. Senate DFLers expanded the law to those who may be helping in other ways, such as administering Narcan, during these situations. (SF 3866)

Did Not Pass

Senate DFLers were able to increase penalties for straw purchases and ban binary triggers, but other gun violence prevention bills fell victim to Republican obstructionism and partisan hackery.

Neither safe storage of firearms nor mandated reporting of lost and stolen firearms passed the legislature.

Safe Storage of Firearms

Safe storage of firearms requires just that – that firearms be stored safely when not in use. Research shows secure storage reduces the risk of gun violence. Storing firearms securely

protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and gun theft. Safe storage requirements can reduce accidental discharge of firearms by as much as 79%.

Mandated Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms

This establishes a duty for a person who owns, possesses, or controls a firearm to report the loss or theft of that firearm to their law enforcement agency where the left or theft occurred as soon as practicable, but no later than within 48 hours after the person knew or reasonably should have known of the loss or theft.

Lost and stolen firearms often end up reappearing at the scene of a crime or shooting, with no way to track where the firearms came from. Mandating the reporting of lost and stolen firearms to law enforcement as soon as somebody realizes their firearms their missing helps reduce illegal gun movement by as much as 46%. Reporting also helps provide information about how many firearms are stolen and assists in gun trafficking investigations.

Senate DFL Media