$300 million public safety bill moving through Minnesota House

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A $300 million public safety bill that passed the Minnesota House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee last week with a unanimous, bipartisan vote is now headed for the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill’s author, Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope), told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the spending bill focuses on prevention and intervention with grant money for specific use in city, county and tribal law enforcement agencies.

“We’re talking about youth services, youth intervention programs, diversion programs,” Frazier said.

“We’re talking about reentry programs for those who’ve been incarcerated and coming back into the community to make sure they — what I always say — is give them a soft landing pad back into the community so they can get their footing under them.”

Frazier told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a big part of the funding would be used for mental health crisis teams, which he said will benefit those who need the help and assist law enforcement.

“Maybe you need to send out a social worker or a mental health provider and professionals,” Frazier explained. “You can develop the professional structure and infrastructure and provide those resources so that it frees up peace officers to deal with any type of crime intervention and prevention in the city.”

Last year, a similar $300 million public safety bill passed in the House but stalled in the Senate because the Republican majority preferred spending more money to hire more officers in local law enforcement agencies.

Frazier said there is money available in his public safety bill that would allow local law enforcement agencies to “hire more personnel, if that’s what their community needs.”

Governor Tim Walz is also expected to release his public safety initiatives this week. Check back for updates.