St. Paul, MN—State Representative Paul Novotny, R-Elk River, plans to introduce legislation during tomorrow’s special session to increase transparency in Minnesota’s bail system. Novotny’s legislation comes in response to a local news report that found a Minnesota nonprofit has bailed out defendants from Twin Cities jails who were arrested for murder, sex crimes, and other violent felonies. The organization cited in the story, Minnesota Freedom Fund, received millions of dollars in donations from Democrats and Hollywood celebrities in the wake of the George Floyd death.
“Victims that are forced to live in fear when an abuser is released from jail deserve to know who is posting bail, and the next victim should know who paid for the release of repeat offenders with no strings attached,” said Rep. Novotny. “By making public the names of the nonprofit organizations that posted bail for these defendants, we will bring much needed transparency to this process and give victims and Minnesotans the information they need to make informed decisions before donating to groups that indiscriminately post bail for violent offenders.”
Current Minnesota law does not consider it a matter of public record when a third-party group like Minnesota Freedom Fund pays cash to post bail. The Novotny bill would change state law to make public the names of third-party entities that post bail for a defendant.
A copy of the draft legislation can be found here. The bill will be officially introduced during tomorrow’s special session and will be assigned a House File number at that time.