Efficiently Supporting Public Safety
To improve public safety, we need first to change the way we finance public safety. Senator John Hoffman has supported legislation that allows Anoka County to levy property taxes for public safety improvements and equipment. This provides more flexibility to Anoka County and is estimated to save taxpayers $600,000 over several years. Additionally, this bill requires safety equipment acquired with funds raised from bonds to have a lifespan at least as long as the term of debt it’s purchase incurred. (SF 2387)
Defending Our Communities Against Hate Crimes
It is enshrined in our Constitution and values that “all men are created equal” and all Minnesotans deserve respect and understanding. Despite this, some individuals discriminate based on uncontrollable factors such as skin color, religion, ability, orientation, and gender. Unfortunately, some individuals take their hatred a step further by violently assaulting and threatening minority communities. The effects of this hatred can be first felt by the pain inflicted on the immediate victims. The feelings of hurt and grief then spread through the victim’s family as they reel from this violent assault on their sibling, child, parent, or grandparent. These intense feelings of fear and anger then radiate to the surrounding community as one of their own was attacked for an attribute that they too involuntarily share. When a violent hate crime is committed, it does more than harm the individual; it sends shockwaves throughout entire communities. For this, hate crimes demand unique punishment.
As a long supporter of equity, Senator John Hoffman is ready to fight back against hate crimes. By authoring legislation designed to increase maximum penalties by 25% on felony assault motivated by bias, Senator Hoffman is taking a decisive step in protecting and safeguarding our communities. Senator Hoffman believes no one should be the victim of a crime because of their race, color, sex, orientation, disability, religion, age, or national origin. (SF 2680)
More recently than ever before, our society is made aware of the need for greater police reform and accountability. We only need to recall the recent memory of the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who sat on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. This is both horrifying and unacceptable.
Senator Hoffman supports adding resources to our brave men and women in the police force who are stretched too thin. Hoffman believes that we need to invest in community based resources like social workers that can assist police in situations that require a specialized approach. Over 50% of instances in which the police shoot a person, that person was living with mental health or addiction. If we promote the use of mental health professionals as tools police can use to de-escalate situations, we can save countless lives.
Senator John Hoffman helped pass legislation allowing the general public to have access to police body camera footage if they are concerned about a particular encounter with the police. Bill SF 498 allows any document of law enforcement to cite, arrest, incarcerate, or deprive an individual of liberty to be made public. Any body camera footage of an officer discharging a firearm or using force that results in bodily harm will immediately be made public data on the request of the civilian involved in the police encounter. (SF 498)
Minnesota has continually struggled with creating a strong pension system. Only 2% of our state and local government spending is on public pensions which is just half of the national average at 4.1%. In the area of pensions we can and need to do better.
Hoffman supported increased pension contributions from public employees to ensure public pension plans remain adequately funded and employees contribute a sufficient amount to their pensions. These increased contributions protect retirees and ensure pension disbursements do not exceed assets. (2013 Omnibus Retirement Bill, 5/17/13, S.F. 489) (2014 Omnibus Retirement Bill, 5/16/14, H.F. 1951)
Hoffman voted in favor of reducing state aid to the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) for the previous merger of the Minneapolis Employee Retirement Fund, which saves $36 million per biennium. (2015 Omnibus State Departments Bill, 5/18/15, S.F. 888)
Hoffman supported a more conservative investment return assumption on pension assets moving forward, which results in a lower likelihood of a funding deficiency in the future. (2015 Omnibus Retirement Bill, 5/17/15, S.F. 1398)
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