Minnesota House GOP unveils public safety priorities

Minnesota lawmakers are working out their respective budgets for public safety.

Tuesday morning, the Minnesota House GOP released its priorities to address rising crime across the state. Their $20.5 million-plan focuses on three areas: crime prevention and accountability; police recruiting and retention; justice system transparency and accountability.

The plan to address crime includes adding ShotSpotters, body cameras and more aggressive prosecution of criminals. The plan also would create a new carjacking offense, increase penalties for repeat offenders, outlaw gun possession for certain violent criminals, enhance penalties for stolen cars and create a catalytic converter database in the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

“With the crime rates spiking, it’s something that we absolutely need to take action on, it’s something that we must take action on in a bipartisan basis,” House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said.

On the police recruitment and retention side of the plan, Republicans have proposals to create education reimbursement grants for officers who’ve been on the job for at least a year and those who take use-of-force training, grants to attract new officers from nontraditional backgrounds, and retirement tax exemptions for police officers and firefighters.

The third part of their plan would require felony charges to be filed if there’s probable cause, mandate sentencing departures to be posted on the state’s sentencing guidelines commission’s website, and force law enforcement agencies to report carjackings to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Republicans said they do believe they’ll have bipartisan support for many parts of their plan, which they called their top priority of the session. The comprehensive plan has more than two dozen separate bills.

The announcement comes as the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) released a summary of its latest economic forecast Monday, estimating the state’s current projected surplus at $9.253 billion.

You can watch the full announcement by GOP members below.

RELATED: Minnesota budget forecast improves, projected surplus tops $9.2B

Gov. Tim Walz has already unveiled his plan for public safety, which calls for spending $300 million in public safety grants with local governments deciding how best to target crime in their communities.

Another $30 million, Walz claims, would go toward helping stop violent crime in hardest-hit cities.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have a $65 million proposal that calls for more aggressive prosecution for all offenses.

They also want to offer free college education and recruitment grants for officers.

RELATED: Gov. Walz, Senate Republicans pitch public safety plans