Representative Jamie Becker-Finn discusses Omnibus Public Safety and Security Finance Bill

Representative Jamie Becker-Finn discusses Omnibus Public Safety and Security Finance Bill

The member from ramsey represented becker finn thank you mr. speaker i wanted to take this opportunity to refresh everyone’s memories about a few things first they want to take us back to december of last year many of you will remember the star tribune ran a series about solitary confinement in our prison system and myself and i think nearly everyone who read

That series agree that something needed to be done especially when dealing with those with mental illness and represented service has a bill that would address some of those concerns and it’s a good bill it’s a bipartisan bill we heard really compelling testimony in committee in support of making some of these changes and unfortunately there’s no language and

No funding in this bill now before us to deal with that crisis and so i really think that this bill this bill fails in that regard there are actual people will be affected by our failure to act when it comes to addressing solitary confinement in our prison system and our failure to act this year is going to be more people are negatively affected by that second

You will probably remember just a week or two ago we passed represent krish’s bill mckenna’s law that would require that children in our child protection system be notified of their right to a public defender and rightly we all voted for that bill it passed the house and the senate unanimously unfortunately here’s the catch but you didn’t see this one coming the

Public safety bill under funds the public defenders by a lot if this were to become law it’s estimated that 40 to 50 public defenders would be laid off so now we have more kids being told of their right to a public defender but there won’t be enough public defenders to actually represent them and give them the services that they deserve and have a right to and

The public defender caseloads which are already really high will be even higher and the attention that cases like mckenna’s should have it’s not going to be there there will be more people trying to access a system with even fewer resources and fewer attorneys i on that same theme this bill also expands a legal aid eligibility for farmers which is great i support

That i you know i think that expanding that for farmers is something that most of us supported but unfortunately there’s another catch again not surprising this bill under funds legal aid so again there will be more people rightfully seeking legal assistance and legal aid programs will have to turn even more people away they simply don’t and won’t have the staff

And resources to provide those services to people who need them as things stand right now even before expanding the eligibility for farmers only to two of five people who qualify for legal aid currently receive services two out of five so less than half of the people who qualify for legal aid are actually getting those services because things are so underfunded in

That area and adding more even more people to that pool just going to exacerbate the problem if finally ostensibly we all want a fair justice system but that requires funding and for the life of me i cannot figure out why in this time of surplus we aren’t properly funding public safety the republican majority has chosen to put the priority at bailouts for health

Insurance companies and relief for wealthy relief for wealthy minnesotans with large estates above public safety and no part of our justice system is safe this year with this proposed budget again we can call this a public safety bill but it’s not making more minnesotans safe please vote no the member from ramsey representative into

Transcribed from video
Representative Jamie Becker-Finn discusses Omnibus Public Safety and Security Finance Bill By Minnesota Senate District 42 DFL