Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Huot (DFL)

Back to profile

Release: House State and Local Government Committee advances Rep. Huot legislation boosting funding for violent crime prosecution statewide

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. –Today, the Minnesota House Committee on State and Local Government Finance and Policy advanced legislation authored by Rep. John Huot (DFL – Rosemount) to provide needed legal support to prosecute violent crimes and crimes that financially harm consumers and businesses statewide. The bill passed on party lines.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from Minnesotans all across the state over the past couple years; addressing crime is a concern, no matter where you live,” said Rep. Huot. “This vital funding will allow the Minnesota Attorney General to offer expanded service to Minnesota counties, which will ensure more swift criminal prosecution from experienced prosecutors.”

In Minnesota, criminal prosecution is delegated to the city and county attorneys except in specific federal cases which are expressly delegated to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Under current state law, the OAG can only appear in criminal cases “upon the request of the county attorney.” Small county attorneys’ offices in greater Minnesota often lack the capacity to take on complex cases and the OAG currently has insufficient resources to meet the needs of those counties.

"The Attorney General plays a very important and defined role in criminal prosecution: when and only when a county attorney asks for help, the Attorney General's Office can and does step in to prosecute a felony,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. 

I'm proud that in the last four years, we have prosecuted 47 cases of serious violent crime from 22 counties and so far, have not lost a case. Four times in the last four years, I have asked the Legislature for more resources so my office can help more county attorneys bring more justice for crime victims. I'm pleased the bill was passed out of committee today and look forward to final passage so crime victims see the justice systems working better for them."

Since October of 2022, there have been 47 criminal cases referred to the OAG. Since Attorney General Ellison took office in 2019, the office has taken on 33 cases, and secured 26 convictions without losing a single case. The Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted homicides, serious criminal sexual conduct, or other crimes in Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Big Stone, Carlton, Chippewa, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Jackson, Kanabec, LeSueur, Morrison, Pennington, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Renville, Roseau, Todd, Traverse, and Wilkin counties.

 “House Democrats support prosecuting violent criminals and removing them from our streets no matter where they reside,” said Rep. Klevorn, chair of the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee. 

“There is no place for violent crime in Minnesota. I’m thankful to Rep. Huot and Attorney General Ellison for keeping public safety front and center of our work. It’s critical to have the tools and prosecutors communities need to send a clear message to criminals – whether it’s human trafficking or white collar crime – Minnesota has no tolerance for criminal behavior.”

Currently, the OAG is generally limited to providing county-level support in homicide cases. However, with additional funding they could expand their scope to include: non-homicide violent crimes like attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault, robbery, and burglary; human trafficking/sex trafficking; complicated white-collar theft/fraud; criminal vehicular homicide/operation; multi-jurisdictional cases where criminal conduct occurs, or when victims reside in multiple counties.

Video of the meeting is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information, including documents in support of the bill from the hearing, are available on the committee webpage.