By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 4/13/2017
Hello from the State Capitol,
You may have heard about a public safety funding proposal the Minnesota House approved recently that also addresses illegal Interstate protests and increases penalties for sexual predators and traffickers. I thought I’d give you a brief update on these provisions.
What many people don’t realize is that it’s already illegal for protesters to shut down a freeway such as Interstate 94, yet the current punishment is doing nothing to deter them from putting their own lives – not to mention the lives of other motorists and law enforcement – in danger.
The current intentional public highway obstruction law is a misdemeanor. The legislation included in the public safety bill would strengthen the penalty to a gross misdemeanor, which increases the probability for a jail stay, higher fine, and longer probation. Nothing in this bill changes what is already illegal.
The bill also strengthens criminal sexual conduct laws by eliminating stays of imposition and adjudication for sex crimes, increasing supervision post incarceration for some crimes from ten years to life, and increasing the length of punishment for those convicted of child pornography crimes.
Funding for police training is also a major component of the bill. New money is allocated to local law enforcement agencies to help them pay for officers’ training costs, and to help officers in dealing with suicidal and mentally disturbed people. The plan also improves our judicial system, and allows the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to replace an outdated predatory offender registry.
There’s no doubt this public safety bill will better protect Minnesotans and assist those who keep us safe each and every day, and I was happy to support it.
I also wanted to remind residents that for the first time, all military pensions are fully exempt from Minnesota state income taxes beginning with 2016 tax filings that are due this year. This new tax benefit is a result of bipartisan legislation passed in 2016 by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton.
Minnesota veterans with questions about the new tax exemption are encouraged to visit here for more information.
The Legislature has been on break this week for the Passover and Easter holidays and we will return to work on Tuesday. To those celebrating this week, my best wishes for a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover!
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155