Republicans like law enforcement, right? You wouldn’t know it from the cuts and underfunding in the Judiciary and Public Safety omnibus bill.
This is one of a series of short blogs about specific omnibus bills, with quotes from Governor Mark Dayton’s veto messages. For an overall perspective, see You go, Guv! and other posts on the Minnesota legislature.
Three budget failures:
- The bill fails to fully fund the Predatory Offender Registration System – keeping track of some 31,000 offenders required to register. The computer system is outdated and, according to the governor’s veto message, ” some critical functionality has been lost and data integrity issues were discovered in a recent Federal Bureau of lnvestigations audit.” Can anybody say WannaCry?
- A national opioid epidemic explains some of the increased workload for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – “complex homicide and narcotics investigations and laboratory analysis requiring a growing number of hours devoted to each case, all without additional staff.” Yet the BCA staffing request is underfunded in the Republican budget.
- Prisoners get out of jail some day, returning to our communities. That’s a reason to fully fund the Department of Corrections. Instead – “The lack of operating dollars will force the Commissioner to lay off approximately 250 employees who provide critical recidivism reducing programing, security, and community supervision. In addition, the State Government Conference report that I vetoed Friday would cause an additional 200 employees to be laid off. These employees teach offenders the skills they need to successfully leave prison and not return. These employees also increase safety in prison because they provide programs for offenders to constructively pass the time.”
That’s three – and I haven’t even gotten to the underfunding of the judicial system, guardians ad litem, public defenders…
Two policy problems:
The bill requires the Department of Corrections to pay for a study of reopening a private prison in Appleton, ignoring less-expensive DOC plans for adding beds in three existing facilities. That’s just a boondoggle benefiting the private prison industry.
At the last minute, the governor wrote, legislators also added provisions “relating to DPS’s authority to engage in rulemaking regarding lawful status for a driver’s license. As I have stated repeatedly, this language is not necessary because current law prohibits DPS from rulemaking without the Legislature’s prior approval.”
There’s more – you can click and read the full text of the Governor’s veto message.