Rep. John Huot – Release: The House State and Local Government Committee is moving forward Rep. Huot’s legislation to increase funding for prosecuting violent crimes nationwide

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 the necessary legal support to prosecute violent crimes and crimes that financially harm consumers and businesses across the state damage. The bill crossed party lines.

“We’ve been hearing loud and clear from Minnesotans across the state in recent years; Fighting crime is a concern no matter where you live.” said Rep. Huot. “This important funding will allow the Minnesota Attorney General to offer expanded services to Minnesota counties, ensuring faster prosecution by experienced prosecutors.”

In Minnesota, law enforcement is delegated to the city and district attorneys, except in certain federal cases that are specifically delegated to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). According to current state law, the BA just appear in criminal cases “at the request of the public prosecutor”. Small district attorney offices in the Minnesota metro area often do not have the capacity to take on complex cases, and the OAG does not currently have the resources to meet the needs of these districts.

“The Attorney General has a very important and defined role in law enforcement: if and only if a prosecutor asks for help, the Attorney General’s office can and will step in to prosecute a crime,” said Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General.

I am proud that over the last four years we have prosecuted 47 serious violent crime cases from 22 counties and have not lost a case to date. Four times in the past four years, I have asked the Legislature for more resources so my office can help more prosecutors bring more justice to crime victims. I am pleased that the bill passed the committee today and look forward to the final passage so that victims of crime can see that the justice systems work better for them.

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

“House Democrats support the prosecution of violent criminals and their removal from our streets wherever they are.” said Rep. Klevorn, chair of the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee.

“Minnesota has no place for violent crime. I am grateful to Rep. Huot and Attorney General Ellison for keeping public safety at the heart of our work. It’s critical to have the tools and prosecutors need to send criminals a clear message — 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 assistance in homicide cases. However, with additional funding, they could expand their scope to include: violent non-homicidal crimes such as attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault, robbery and burglary; human trafficking/sex trafficking; complicated economic theft/fraud; criminal vehicle homicide/operation; Cases in multiple jurisdictions where criminal behavior occurs or when victims live in multiple countries.

The video of the meeting is available on the House Public Information Services YouTube channel. More information, including documents supporting the bill from the hearing, is available on the committee’s website.

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