Friends and neighbors,
On Friday the Senate passed a public safety budget agreement. Virtually all of the feedback I have received about this issue have told me the same thing: invest in police. Put more good cops on the streets. Get tough on criminals. Hold judges and prosecutors accountable.
The Democrats’ bill does none of these things. It is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for criminals that will make thousands of convicted criminals eligible for early release, including violent offenders and juveniles that commit heinous crimes. The House-Senate conference committee agreement is even worse than the Senate Democrat version of the bill.
The conference committee, which had no Republican members, removed funding for three important provisions: mental health grants and wellness grants for first responders, additional school safety center staff, and bodycam grants for law enforcement. The conference committee even chose to eliminate a provision that states pedophilia is not a protected class, which unanimously passed the House. The change means pedophiles cannot be discriminated against, just like the laws that apply to race and gender.
Two controversial gun control provisions are in the bill: red flag and background checks. They were dropped in at the last minute, with no public testimony or debate. And since no Republicans were on the committee, there was no opposition.
Other notable provisions in the bill:
- Changes to landlord-tenant law and rental eviction record expungement, including limitations against crime-free lease terms. This makes it harder for landlords to provide a safe place to live.
- Legislative approval of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission’s five-year felony probation cap, plus retroactive application to any sentence already in place in Minnesota
- It puts the crime of carjacking into statute, but does not add any new penalty. A useless change.
- It reduces sentences for juveniles charged as adults
- It reduces prison time from 2/3 of an offender’s sentence to only half, which would make 92% of our prison population eligible for early release
- Significant new spending for nonprofit services, the vast majority of it has very little accountability
Minnesotans deserve much better than what this bill is doing. The Republican public safety plan was a much better alternative. It prioritized putting more good cops on the street, cracking down on criminals, and holding judges and prosecutors accountable for their choices. This is the direction Minnesotans want us to go.
A Better Approach to Paid Leave
The Senate recently passed a bill that introduces a statewide program for paid family and medical leave. People from both sides of the aisle agree that expanding access to paid family leave is a good thing. However, the Democrats’ approach to this issue is worrisome.
Their bill is an expensive one-size-fits-all mandate, which will particularly hurt small businesses. It establishes a massive new government bureaucracy, including more than 400 new employees. It imposes a $2 billion new payroll tax on workers and employers. And if they ran the numbers wrong, taxpayers are going to have to pay up even more to keep the program going.
Republicans believe in expanding access to paid family and medical leave, but this is not the right solution. There is a better way. Our plan adopts a free-market approach, utilizing private insurance. By taking this private market approach, we eliminate the need for another enormous government bureaucracy. It can be tailored to fit the specific needs of each business and its employees, and unlike a government-run program, it can be implemented right away.
Sales Tax Hike for the Metro
Despite a budget surplus of more than $19 billion, the Minnesota Senate recently approved a Housing budget agreement that includes a $745 million metro sales tax increase on Minnesotans – part of the nearly $10 billion in tax hikes proposed by legislative Democrats this year.
That means every time you venture into the 7 county metro, you’ll pay more for every single purchase.
I love hearing your feedback. It helps me serve you to the best of my ability. If you have any questions about any issues we are working on at the legislature, feel free to contact me any time at email@example.com or 651-296-5155.
And you can always get the latest news from St. Paul on my Facebook page at /MarkKoranforSenate.
It is a privilege to serve you!