Judiciary budget target received, time for Senate Republicans to come to the table

After initially receiving a $90 million target, $20 million of which was earmarked for the disaster assistance contingency account, DFLers fought to increase new spending for the Judiciary Committee and were able to raise the target to $105 million.

This new funding, however, is expected to be stretched very thin, as our communities are demanding changes in our criminal justice and policing systems.

We must keep the promise we made after the murder of George Floyd by a former police officer and continue our work in transformational changes to our criminal justice and policing systems. The police killing of Daunte Wright has only made it even more clear that we have work to do to keep our communities safe.

There are also several bipartisan, good governance policy provisions that Senate DFLers are working to pass, including juvenile justice, allowing the traffic and criminal surcharge to be waived for individuals that can’t afford it to avoid perpetuating circles of poverty, and changes to our DWI laws that’ll make the roads safer for all Minnesotans.

Senate Republicans have been a roadblock for all these policy changes, claiming that policy doesn’t belong in a budget bill and that there’s simply no time to hear policy. The time wasted in committee by the Senate Republican Chair and the amount of strong policy provisions the House did hear has proven both claims to be false. Senate Republicans simply do not want to do the work to keep all our communities safe and address the systemic racism in our criminal justice and policing systems.

We have an opportunity during special session to keep our promises and see these important policy provisions through, along with pulling together a strong budget for the judiciary systems in our state. Senate DFLers will continue to fight to do just that. (SF 970)