The Minnesota Legislature adjourned on May 20th without a complete budget deal. Governor Walz, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Melissa Hortman reached a broad budget deal before adjournment, but many details had not been hammered out. Since then all of the budget bills have been agreed to by the various leaders and lawmakers completed their work in a one-day special sesison.

The Public Safety Conference Committee made little progress negotiating differences during the final weeks of session. Much of the debate centered around 74 policy provisions contained in the House version of the bill that the Senate didn’t have positions on or had never heard in their committee. The Public Safety Budget target was agreed to and heard in an informational committee this week. Key highlights that are in the bill:
  • Police Training Funding: Our proposal for increased training reimbursement will remain at current levels. The Senate unfortunately had proposed cutting this funding but thankfully we were able to ensure that the funding remained. In the next budget cycle these funds will sunset and we will continue to fight to eliminate the sunset ensuring this important funding will continue in perpetuity.The House proposal would have put a sunset on the Pathways to Policing funding. MCPA opposed this change and we were successful in eliminating that sunset in the final budget deal.Additionally, the House bill contained several data collection pieces that MCPA opposed with other law enforcement partners. These mandates were not included in the final budget deal.
  • UAV Policy Language: Both the Senate and House bills contained language regulating the use of drones. MCPA opposed this legislation as it would have required a significantly high bar for use and limited our capacity to use this important technology when necessary. The language was not included in the final budget deal.

  • Forfeiture Reform Task Force: The House spent significant time this year trying to pass legislation that would have eliminated civil asset forfeiture. MCPA and the entire law enforcement coalition opposed this legislation and were able to have the bill amended on the House Floor and replace it with a task force to look at reforming the process. This task force was not included in the budget deal.

  • Cannabis: The Senate killed a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis earlier in the session. The House spent their time focusing on a taskforce to study what other states have done and reducing thresholds. None of these items were included in the final budget deal.

  • Criminal Background Checks/ERPO: The House passed both Criminal Background Check reforms and allowing law enforcement to petition the courts for an Emergency Risk Protection Order. These bills were supported by MCPA but unfortunately they were not included in the final bills. These bills remain major priorities for the Governor and DFL House.

  • POST Board Funding: One key change that did happen is the funding for the POST board will now come out of the General Fund as opposed to the Special Revenue Account. We will monitor this issue going forward as these funds will compete with all others from the general fund.

  • Criminal Sexual Assault Policy/Task Force: in the wake of the Star Tribune’s denied justice series the legislature has approved legislation to take a further look at how reform might come in the future. This will be done through a task force in the coming year. Additionally, the legislature passed legislation that will require agencies to have a policy in dealing with these cases that is very similar to what POST sent out a few months ago.