Updated: June 30, 2021 11:12 PM
Created: June 30, 2021 10:37 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- Now, included in the Public Safety Bill is a bill named after Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson.
The bill is designed to strengthen criminal penalties for people convicted of assault of a police officer, prosecutor, judge or correctional employee. Megan Matson, Arik's wife, spoke to ABC 6 News. She says the family is feeling so many emotions, but all good ones.
And, now more than ever, she's optimistic about the future. Arik was honored on the senate and house floors before the bill passed.
"Once he figured out what was happening, he had a smile from ear to ear. And I'm like babe, your bill passed, it's here and he was like yes! He was super excited," Megan Matson said.
His smile means the world to Officer Matson's wife Megan. After Arik was shot in January of last year, her husband has been fighting to recover, and she knew something had to be done.
So she reached out to the Waseca County Attorney Rachel Cornelius.
"Rachel and I after finding out about the sentencing guidelines we've seen that there needed to be a change," Megan Matson said.
And Rachel was motivated to help right away.
"When we were talking about the penalties we could get, the maximum was 20 years, for one officer and that didn't seen enough. But now the nice thing is we have some tools for great bodily harm, whether you assault a police officer, commit great bodily harm, and then if you commit great bodily harm with a dangerous weapon," Cornelius said.
But, Rachel and Megan were not alone. They had Representative John Petersburg in their corner. And for him, this fight was personal.
"I think we owe them a certain amount of extra protection to be able to keep them safe coming home to their families, day in and day out. I have a brother-in-law who retired as a sergeant in the police force down in Phoenix and I know the challenges that can occur," Representative John Petersburg (R) Waseca said.
And after last nights debates, the Arik Matson Bill is included in the states public safety bill, and after a year of hard work, the Waseca community is showing their support to Megan and Arik.
"Our Matson Strong Facebook page is blowing up with messages of congratulations, my Instagram page is just flooding in with comments and messages," Megan Matson said.
But the real takeaway from this, "What we can do is take a really bad incident, a bad law and take make it into something really great," Cornelius said.
Megan says Arik is recovering well, he's going to therapy in Mankato two to three times a week, and she says she's grateful for all of the community and lawmaker support to get this bill passed in both chambers.
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