We are thrilled to share some exciting news with you. After years of efforts and collaboration, we are proud to announce that our organized retail crime (ORC) definition bill has passed through the legislative process and was signed by the Governor this past Friday. This significant development marks a major milestone in our ongoing efforts to address the growing issue of organized retail crime in Minnesota.
The passage of this bill has been a collective achievement, made possible through the strong partnership between the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) and the bill's authors, Representative Zack Stephenson and Senator Ron Latz. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for their unwavering commitment to tackling this pressing issue and their dedication to ensuring the safety of consumers, workers, and retailers across our great state.
Our success in advancing this legislation was bolstered by the invaluable support we received from the Minnesota Organized Retail Crime Association, including its leaders Cody Johnson and Taylor Wiechert, and other key stakeholder organizations. Through their expertise and guidance, we were able to deliver a strong message during the legislative process. We extend our sincere appreciation to all those who lent their support and contributed to this issue, including our contract lobbyist Tom Freeman with Faegre Drinker, who worked tirelessly on this bill. In addition, we are most grateful to Charlie Anderson who shared his passion for people and expertise in law enforcement in countless conversations with us, elected officials and other stakeholders.
Addressing organized retail crime has been a long-time priority for Minnesota’s retailers, and for good reason. These criminal activities pose a significant threat to the integrity of our businesses, the safety of our employees and customers, and the overall economic health of our communities. By passing this bill into law, we take a crucial step forward in equipping law enforcement agencies, financial investigators, and prosecutors with the necessary tools to combat and deter these criminal enterprises.
The ORC definition bill will provide a clear and comprehensive framework to identify and prosecute organized retail crime. It will define ORC, establish consequences for offenders, and enable law enforcement agencies to collaborate more effectively with retailers in investigating and preventing these crimes. Furthermore, it will serve as a strong deterrent by sending a powerful message to potential criminals that their actions will not be welcome in our state.
While we celebrate the new law, we recognize that our work is far from over. The implementation and enforcement of this legislation will require ongoing cooperation and coordination among retailers, law enforcement agencies, and the judicial system. MnRA remains committed to actively engaging with our members and partners to ensure the effective implementation of this law and to continue our efforts in combating organized retail crime in Minnesota.
Last and most important, thank you to members for your unwavering support throughout this process. Together, we are making a significant impact on fostering a better retail environment for all of Minnesota.
To celebrate this achievement and express our gratitude for your continued support, we invite retailers and key business partners to join us for a legislative wrap-up event. The event will take place on June 8 at the Minneapolis Cider Company and feature your chance to try or show off your pickleball skills. It will be an excellent opportunity to network, reflect on the session's outcomes, and discuss the implications for our industry moving forward.