Senator Karla Bigham (DFL – Cottage Grove) said that five of her provisions to reduce and prevent crime were approved during Senate debate over Public Safety Monday. Following the passage of the bill, Senator Bigham issued the following statement:
“These bipartisan bills will improve public safety, hold drug dealers accountable, bolster community corrections, and provide support to victims and survivors,” said Senator Bigham. “Many of these provisions were drafted in response to concerns that my constituents shared with me about the rising level of crime. It’s important to me that we make progress in efforts to reduce crime today and prevent crime tomorrow. I’m going to continue to push for these bills to advance in a conference committee with the House and be signed into law by the Governor this spring.”
Measures to Improve Public Safety, Protect Victims, Support Survivors
The first bill increases the penalty for fentanyl use and possession so it is the same as the penalty for heroin. She said the measure will give prosecutors the necessary tools to hold fentanyl dealers accountable.
The next bill expands eligibility for public safety officer survivor benefits to include first responders that die by suicide or were diagnosed with PTSD, providing rightful and necessary benefits to the family members of those who have sacrificed for our communities.
The third bill shifts the responsibility of paying for sexual assault examinations from counties to the state. This will help survivors across Minnesota face one less burden when they come forward to report sexual assault.
The language passed in the fourth bill supplements a bill passed last session authored by Senator Bigham that made it a misdemeanor to knowingly and without consent share the home address of a peace officer, and a gross misdemeanor if the subsequent “doxing” results in bodily harm to a peace officer, their family, or a member of their household. The new provision expands those same protections to judges, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys.
Finally, the Senate passed a bill championed by Senator Bigham to provide funding and subsidies for community corrections. The bill provides $25 million for three community supervision programs in Minnesota, which will go a long way in keeping our communities safer and reducing burdens on local supervision officers.