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‘Non-controversial’ Public Safety bill first passed by Senate

After a three-hour recess, the Senate finally got down to the business of passing bills.

First up was the Public Safety bill, which was relatively non-controversial after many of the cuts desired by Republican leaders were restored during negotiations with the governor’s office.

“This bill is not bad,’’ said DFL Sen. Ron Latz. “Most of the noxious policy items have been removed.’’

That was seen as a wild endorsement by Senate Republicans.

The Latz endorsement led to 57-7 passage.

Key factors: The Human Rights department is spared the 65 percent cuts Republicans wanted to make. Instead, it takes a 5 percent cut. The overworked public defenders of the state will receive $2.5 million more.

Bad news for state prisoners:  They’ll have $5 co-pays on visits to medical facilities, up from $3.

Debate was virtually non-existent.

“Here we go!’’ said Sen. Geoff Michel, assistant majority leader, after the bill passed.

More controversial bills, however, lie ahead.

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