St. Paul, Minn.— Senator Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) expressed deep disappointment in the public safety package pushed through by Republicans today on the Senate floor. She released the following statement in response to the legislation.
“Today was a sad day for Minnesotans. Today, Senate Republicans completely disregarded the concerns and ideas from the People of Color and Indigenous people (POCI) Caucus and all Minnesotans by pushing through a weak public safety package of bills that ignores racial inequities and the inherent problems present in our criminal justice system.
As the slain Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. stated, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The people of our great state deserve better than partisan politics. The people this legislation affects deserve to be heard. Our ideas and initiatives deserve to be vetted and considered.
Senate DFLers brought up amendment after amendment today to have a voice in improving the legislation to address the inequities that are very real in our communities. But Senate Republicans either hid behind procedural motions to avoid voting on our strong measures to improve these bills or they voted them down. Out of the many amendments we offered, Senate Republicans only took two small amendments. One for expanding the number of POST board members and one for a limited pilot program for police officer training to include crisis intervention and mental illness training. This training sunsets in two years.
This is not about the elections in the fall, this is deeper than partisan politics or even politics as usual. The human and civil rights of Minnesotans should be at the forefront, while leading by example for states and nations thereafter. Changing the structural racism in our judicial system that contributed to the deaths of too many black men and women.
I feel disappointed; but most of all, I grieve for those whom we have lost at the hands of injustice. Our views and ideas were repressed just because Senate Republicans had the power to push through bills that were not bipartisan and only served as cover in saying they did something to reform our criminal justice system. All movement is not good movement, you can easily claim to be moving but are going in a circle, and today was proof of that; instead of going forward, Senate Republicans chose to move in a circle of injustice and inequity.”