ST. PAUL – State Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, and fellow House Republicans on Monday rolled out a package of proposals aimed at improving public safety in Minnesota communities.
The bills are in response to a rise in violent crime on Metro Transit vehicles and in many parts of the Twin Cities. Taken together, they target many of the issues driving crime in the Metro area, including gang and drug trafficking activity, as well as the need for additional officers and tools for law enforcement to combat crime on the light rail lines and in communities. House Republicans were joined at Monday’s press conference by Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll, who highlighted the need for more officers in Minneapolis.
“Public safety is a priority for House Republicans and the need for improvement is quite clear, given the rise in violent crimes we have seen,” Nornes said. “This isn’t just a Twin Cities problem because the impacts are felt throughout the state. If our government has one responsibility, it is to provide public safety and the package of bills we put forward would be a help in that regard. People from all around the state deserve to be able to attend events at major venues or use public transportation without fears of violent crimes occurring.”
Last year saw an all-time high in serious crimes committed on Metro Transit light rail and the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that two-thirds of neighborhoods in Minneapolis saw an increase in overall crime in 2019 – including a 70 percent spike in the Minneapolis Downtown East neighborhood. St. Paul saw a doubling in the homicide rate in 2019, much of it connected to gang violence. In addition, Minnesota’s Violence Crime Enforcement Teams saw major increases in the amounts of meth, heroin, and cocaine compared to 2018 – much of it being trafficked by gangs and produced and smuggled into the United States by Mexican drug cartels.
Proposals announced Monday by House Republicans include: