The state’s Violent Crimes Coordinating Council is having a hard time obeying the rules.
You may remember that these were the guys who, in January, jumped unexpectedly into the medical cannabis debate by sending a letter of “strong opposition” to key legislators. The problem was that no one asked for the council’s opinion, and by providing one, its members overstepped their boundaries.
The council rose, back in 2010, out of the ashes of the disgraced Metro Gang Strike Force, as advisers to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. It was tasked with finding ways to lessen the influence of gangs and drugs. There was nothing in the law prohibiting the council from lobbying legislators, but then again lobbying had never been the point.
So in response to the letter, State Rep. Michael Paymar (D-St. Paul) the chairman of the public safety finance and policy committee who oversaw the creation of the council, expressed frustration, as did State Rep. Carly Melin (D-Hibbing). In April, Paymar countered by attaching an amendment to a public safety bill that would have made it clear: the VCCC could not lobby any government figures except the commissioner of public safety.
More over at the Minneapolis City Pages.