ST. PAUL, Minn– Citing his dedication to the safety of Minnesota police officers and other emergency personnel, the MPPOA honored Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) this week with its 2016 Legislator of the Year award.
“Senator Hoffman understands the challenges police officers face on a daily basis. He has a keen understanding of the importance of public safety and the association recognizes his concrete efforts in helping law enforcement to provide for the safety of our communities and the protection of our members” stated Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Executive Director, Dennis Flaherty.
Senator Hoffman was the chief author of legislation this session designed to assist peace officers and other emergency personnel should they obtain significant exposure to bodily fluids while on duty and thus, face the risk of infection. There has been long standing protocol in state law that dictates how hospitals must deal with emergency workers who face infection risk from blood borne pathogens, but the law had not addressed these same concerns for police and emergency personnel until this year. Flaherty said Hoffman’s legislation will allow a court to order an individual to submit blood for testing.
“I’m very honored to receive this award from MPPOA. Law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way every day in order to keep their communities safe. Ensuring they are protected when members of the public may have infected them with a serious disease is the least we can do. It’s been great working with MPPOA this past session on this legislation, and I look forward to doing more good work with them in the future,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Hoffman also co-sponsored legislation this session clarifying the statute of fourth degree assault against a peace officer, which provides enhanced penalties for physically assaulting a police officer or for intentionally throwing or otherwise transferring bodily fluids or feces at or onto the police officer. Both of Hoffman’s provisions were signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton.
Sen. Hoffman authored a bill in 2014 that provided Anoka County some flexibility in paying for its new public safety data system. Initially, the County was authorized to sell bonds to pay for the system. The bill Sen. Hoffman passed allows the County to levy for the cost instead. By paying cash, the County – and its taxpayers – will save an estimated $600,000 in interest payments over the years.
Senator Hoffman was Author and Chief Author on the following bills all related to Public Safety:
Ex parte hearing authorization for determination of emergency medical service person exposure to individuals bodily fluids establishment; peace officer taking of noncompliant individual into temporary custody to collect blood sample authorization.
Child victims of crime speedy trials authorization
Fourth degree assault against a peace officer clarification
Felony assaults motivated by bias maximum penalty increase. Read about our efforts on Bias Crime here and the difference between the house and Senate.
Drug sentencing reform
The drug sentencing bill represents a compromise of various groups and is the first overhaul of our drug sentencing laws in years. In short, the law now treats drug dealers as dealers, and addicts as addicts. Those who are high-level drug dealers who bring poison and violence into our communities will be going to prison for a longer time, and those who are stuck in the cycle of addiction will be able to get the help they need in kicking their habit.
Police body cameras
This bill regulates the use of body cameras worn by peace officers, and classifies the data generated by the cameras. Body camera data is private data on individuals or nonpublic data, unless certain criteria are met.
Military and Veterans Funding:
Sen. Hoffman has supported millions of dollars in benefits to active military members, veterans, and their families since 2013.
The frustrating and unfair experience of one of Sen. John Hoffman’s (DFL-Champlin) constituents served as inspiration for a bill that allows active duty members of the military to retake driver’s license tests without adhering to the mandatory practice period under Minnesota law. The bill, which was passed unanimously on the Senate floor Monday, streamlines the process for active duty military personnel to re-take either the skills or road test portion of the driver’s license test. Sen. Hoffman says it was the personal story of Douglas Washington — a young active duty member of the Navy who inspired him to chief author the bill.
“We need to make sure our active duty military are given the respect they deserve by being flexible in not only how we provide services to them but when. Members of the military frequently receive little warning before they must be report for duty in another state or country. This uncertainness can really hinder their ability to take and pass a skills or road driver’s license test if they didn’t pass the first time. My constituent Douglas’ had a really bad experience and ended up having to report for duty before he successfully passed his driver’s test. His experience is something that should never happen to any of our active military personnel,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Minnesota law currently states, when an individual fails a skills or road driver’s license test there is a mandatory waiting period before the individual may retake the test. This bill would exempt active duty military personnel from this waiting period. In order to retake the test, the individual must present documentation proving they are active duty military personnel.
Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA)
Public Pension Management
Minnesota continues to have a strong pension system, with only 2% of Minnesota state and local government spending on public pensions, which is the sixth lowest ratio in the country and just half the national average of 4.1% as a percentage of total direct general spending. State aid increases for public pension plans in 2013 and 2014 were accompanied by increased contributions required from public employees and employers into the plans, so that pension liabilities are a shared sacrifice.