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MN State Auditor Blaha: Negative Effects of Small Forfeitures and Positive Effects of Crop Art

Julie Blaha

State Auditor Julie Blaha discusses real world impact of small forfeitures on families and the real joys in creating crop art.

The MN State Auditor’s Office recently released a report indicating the negative impact small forfeitures have on Minnesotans and their families. MN Auditor Julie Blaha joined the morning show to discuss the data behind the report, how it might be used to inform police reform, and in a surprise MN State Fair Week twist, she also discussed her award winning crop art!

In Minnesota, one of the things we do is track the forfeitures that are done at the state level… under state law… get data from local law enforcement about items that they have seized that are subject to forfeiture…the big story is in the small numbers. When it comes to forfeiture, most forfeitures - 76% of forfeitures- that end up on our report are small in the sense of $1,500 or less. Now, those forfeitures don't have a huge impact on the system. The only total, about a million and a half dollars. So that's just a fraction of a percent of our public state budget across the state. But if you're an individual, particularly an individual in poverty, …if you lose that car, that could be the difference between getting to work… We don't want to just inflect homelessness or joblessness before anyone even has their day in court.

I think our numbers support the idea that if we're going to look at a reform, I think a great place to start is by reducing or potentially eliminating small forfeitures…when we talk about particularly reform when it comes to law enforcement, that's a difficult issue. It's a heated issue. It's an emotional issue. It's a high stakes issue…And one way to kind of cool down a hot issue and to make it easier to manage… to go to the data…when you go to that data, you can start having a conversation based on reality. - MN State Auditor Julie Blaha

Click the arrow above for the full conversation about forfeitures and learn the accessible joy of crop art as well!

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.