Senate Report: Public safety bill is a step in right direction

Published 8:45 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

Senate Report by Gene Dornink

Earlier this week, my colleagues and I in the Senate passed a comprehensive public safety bill that holds criminals accountable and keeps our communities safe. These proposals send the message loud and clear: We support our law enforcement officers and appreciate the risk they take to keep us safe. The proposals include addressing the growing crime problems with carjacking, organized retail theft, and fleeing law enforcement and increasing transparency and accountability in prosecution and sentencing decisions.

Gene Dornink

Law enforcement is an honorable career path that deserves our respect and admiration. Years of anti-police rhetoric have diminished and denigrated the law enforcement profession. This bill addresses the central issues currently facing Minnesota’s law enforcement officers: recruitment, retention, education and training, and equipment. It is necessary to ensure we have brave men and women from our communities keeping us safe that are adequately trained and well equipped.

Minnesota is experiencing a dangerous increase in violent crime because offenders are not being held accountable for their crimes. We need to stop the revolving door of criminal activity. We incorporate mandatory minimums for dangerous criminals and have a three-strikes law for violent offenses to address this. We also increased penalties for repeat offenders, carjackers and violent criminals using firearms. Not only are we updating our current statutes to address growing crime, but we provide law enforcement with the tools they need to address this issue as well.

To respond to growing instances of violent criminals becoming repeat offenders and frequent decisions by prosecutors and judges to go easy on criminals, my colleagues and I take several steps to improve transparency for the decisions that lead to early releases and failures to charge to the fullest extent possible. We require reports on prosecutor dismissals and charging decisions, so the public is better aware of why and how decisions were made in prosecuting offenders and sentencing. Our bill also supports Minnesota’s criminal justice system with increased funding for public defenders and probation officers and provides training for prosecutors. Our bill includes funding for youth intervention programs to help prevent our youth from getting involved in criminal behavior.

I am focused and committed to making Minnesota a better place for all to live with safe communities. I believe the comprehensive public safety bill my colleagues and I put forward to support law enforcement, increase penalties for criminal activity, and increase transparency and accountability in judicial and prosecutorial actions is a step in the right direction. Now, our proposal will go to the Democrat-controlled House. It will need to pass the House before being signed by the governor.

As always, it is my honor to represent you! If you ever have any questions or concerns send me an email at sen.gene.dornink@senate.mn or give me a call at 651-296-5240.

Gene Dornink, R-Hayfield, is the District 27 senator.