Sen. Gene Dornink: Bipartisanship is the key to good policy for Minnesotans

Published 5:22 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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Friends and neighbors,

This week was National Police Week, a time to honor and recognize the dedicated men and women who serve in law enforcement. From keeping our streets safe to responding to emergencies, their commitment to our safety is invaluable. That is why it is critical to translate our gratitude into meaningful action and support.

Fittingly, the Minnesota Senate recently passed the supplemental budget for Judiciary and Public Safety needs. The floor debate resulted in the adoption of a number of Republican amendments, making the bill a truly bipartisan effort. Our accepted amendments focus on targeting unlawful behaviors and increasing penalties, such as closing a loophole and creating a specific crime of fleeting police in a car. These policies reflect the concerns of Minnesotans who want government to support law enforcement and ensure criminals are held accountable.

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Still, there is always more we can do to support our law enforcement officers.

In Minnesota, the rising level of violent crime is a top concern and one that I often hear about from constituents. It is long overdue for our state to get tough on crime to ensure Minnesotans feel safe in their homes, communities and on their streets. Our law enforcement agencies also continue to testify to challenges facing their industry, with nearly unanimous concern about the recruitment and retention of officers at the top of the list.

Amid growing scrutiny and calls for defunding the police, our law enforcement officers are no longer appreciated by many in the public. We need to ensure our officers know that their sacrifices do not go unnoticed, but our appreciation is not enough. It is also about making sure our officers have the resources and respect they deserve. We need to show our gratitude by taking real action to build safer communities.

The public safety budget is an example of good, bipartisan work. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in other areas.

Despite having two years to pass their “priority bills,” legislative Democrats are opting to curtail debate due to their poor time management. The responsibility of passing majority-party bills does not fall on the minority. Rather, it is the responsibility of us in the minority to ensure that the voices of our constituents are heard. The suppression of minority viewpoints is regrettable, and unfortunately, is not unprecedented under this majority.

As we look to the final days of the 2024 session, discussions on a bonding bill and debate on policy and supplemental budget bills will take place. This is normal in an even numbered legislative year. What is unprecedented is that Democrats last year spent the entirety of the $19 billion surplus and raised taxes and fees by $10 billion. Yet this is still not enough, and they are now looking to spend even more taxpayer dollars and increase your taxes again this session.

One-party control is harmful to Minnesotans, and bipartisanship is the key to getting our state back on the right track.