SAINT PAUL, MN— Today, Senate Republicans announced their plans to hold hearings on accountability for the destruction of city and state property. Their series of expected hearings on the recent destruction of businesses and buildings, in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, deeply contrast the single, informational hearing they held for criminal justice reform. No transformative criminal justice legislation passed in the recent special session, and there are no public hearings scheduled for the package of bills proposed by the bicameral People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus. Following the announcement, Senators Susan Kent and Jeff Hayden released the following statements:
“It is deeply discouraging and troubling to see Senate Republicans prioritize hearings that completely fail to address racial disparities within our criminal justice system. They should instead prioritize hearings on the POCI Caucus-led proposal to keep systems accountable,” said Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent. “Minnesotans statewide are asking us to do our jobs and take meaningful action. The one informational hearing they held on weak proposals doesn’t cut it. It is now abundantly clear they were never really interested in passing critical legislation.”
No DFL senators have been consulted in the creation of the oversight committee or have been asked to participate—including members that represent the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area. Senate Republicans have once again left key people out of critical conversations. This lack of dialogue is reoccurring in regard to criminal justice reform, rebuilding efforts for those impacted by the unrest following the death of George Floyd and crafting a bonding bill.
“I am deeply disturbed by Senate Republicans’ complete lack of urgency to protect the Black lives that are at risk of being killed at the hands of police officers. After we saw the murder of George Floyd, the entire state and nation spoke out. They still aren’t listening to the demands for change within our criminal justice system,” said Senate DFL Assistant Leader Jeff Hayden. “If Senate Republicans really want to help the Black community, they should start by talking to us and recognizing this is not just a Minneapolis-Saint Paul issue. 60% of police deadly encounters have taken place in Greater Minnesota.”