Senate Republicans brought a public safety bill to the floor this week focused on increasing penalties and hardening mandatory minimums, despite evidence that it’s not the punishment but the likeliness of being caught that is most effective in deterring crime.
Senate DFLers offered their public safety plan as an alternative – over $500 million in public safety funding for our communities, crime reduction and prevention, juvenile justice, and investments that would actually reduce and prevent crime, making Minnesotans safer. Senate Republicans refused to hear this proposal in committee and rejected it on the floor, instead moving forward a bill that legislates on fear and rhetoric and not the realities we know work.
The bill did have a handful of strong provisions – $50 million for our public defenders, funding for school safety specialists, and funding for youth intervention programs – but they were outweighed by the damaging policies in the Republican bill.
Senate Republicans have claimed public safety is a top priority this session, but they are spending more on tax cuts for people making over $250,000 then they are on keeping Minnesotans safe.
The bill ultimately passed and will head next to be negotiated with the House, where DFLers are focused on real solutions to increase public safety. (SF 2673)