Lawmakers will consider wide range of public safety bills in 2018 session

 

MCPA - From distracted driving to human trafficking, Minnesota state legislators will consider a wide range of public safety issues when they return to work at the State Capitol in St. Paul.  The legislative session officially begins at noon on Tuesday February 20th.

Shorter sessions such as the 2018 gathering are usually focused on policy since a state budget is in place.  Legislative experts say pre-filing legislation can streamline the lawmaking process, giving staff a chance to package the proper paperwork and formatting necessary to funnel bills into committees and, eventually, onto chamber floors.  It also gives advocates time to investigate and comment on proposals or line uip support or opposition specific bills.

In the Minnesota House of Representatives, pre-filed bills include a proposal to require agencies to maintain and publicize a log of data requests.  Human trafficking training would be required to obtain a commercial driver license.  Lawmakers will also consider designating a section of U.S. Highway 12 in Wayzata as Officer Bill Mathews Memorial Highway.  Mathews was hit and killed by a driver on that stretch of road last fall while clearing debris from the highway.

State Rep. Keith Franke of Cottage Grove has told KSTP he is introducing a bill to make motor vehicle crashes which cause great bodily harm or death, and in which a cell phone or electronic device was proved a contributing factor, a low-level felony similar to current DUI penalties in Minnesota.  KSTP found the relatively light jail sentences were handed down by judges across Minnesota because cell phone use while driving – even when contributing to a bad accident – falls under the broad legal umbrella of distracted driving.

H. F. 2739, A bill for an act relating to transportation; designating a section of U.S. Highway 12 as Officer Bill Mathews Memorial Highway; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 161.14, by adding a subdivision. The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Regional Governance Policy.

H. F. 2766, A bill for an act relating to public safety; modifying the DWI law by including other types of intoxicating substances and striking references to hazardous substances; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 169A.03, by adding a subdivision; 169A.20, subdivision 1; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169A.03, subdivision 9. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.

H. F. 2769, A bill for an act relating to public safety; requiring human trafficking prevention training prior to issuance of a commercial driver's license; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 171.162, by adding a subdivision. The bill was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Regional Governance Policy. 

H. F. 2781, A bill for an act relating to public safety; firearms; clarifying that a slide-fire stock for a semiautomatic firearm is a trigger activator; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 609.67, subdivision 1. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance

H. F. 2800, A bill for an act relating to public safety; eliminating the exclusion from fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for nonconsensual, intentional touching of another person's clothed buttock; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 609.3451, subdivision 1. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.

H. F. 2810, A bill for an act relating to data practices; requiring state agencies to maintain and publicize a log of data requests received; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 13.025, by adding a subdivision. The bill was referred to the Committee on Civil Law and Data Practices Policy.

H. F. 2855, A bill for an act relating to public safety; limiting the amelioration doctrine; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 609.015, subdivision 1. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.

H. F. 2856, A bill for an act relating to public safety; expanding the list of prior offenses that support a conviction of first-degree driving while impaired; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 169A.24, subdivision 1. The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance.

MCPA will monitor public safety legislation during the 2018 session.  The association gathered ideas and concerns from members last fall before assembling its own legislative agenda.  Those issues were research and debated prior to approval by MCPA's board of directors in November.