House passes VPSO reform bill but not before ugly comments about taxing villages

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By Matt Buxton The Midnight Sun

The House on Thursday passed Senate Bill 81 by Sen. Donny Olson, legislation that implements several reform measures aimed at improving the state’s Village Public Safety Officer program. It passed with near-unanimous support but not before a particularly ugly debate about forcing villages in unorganized parts of the state that have no tax base to pay for their public safety.

The legislation brings mandatory background checks for applicants to the rural public safety program, establishes a clearer process for VPSOs to start carrying firearms and sets up new avenues for tribal organizations to provide assistance to officers whether it’s financial, housing or transportation (services

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