Governor Walz and legislative leaders came together to call upon Senate Republicans to prioritize police reform in the upcoming conference committees after canceling the hearings that they had promised. These hearings would have provided the ability for stakeholders, individuals, and advocacy groups to come together and speak about the future of police reform within Minnesota. With no movement in the past few weeks since these informational hearings were promised, Senate Republicans have continued to put off these conversations by leaving it to conference committees for any progress to be made on police reform.
DFLers in the House have multiple bipartisan bills that will be brought up to limit unnecessary traffic stops, provide civilian oversight councils, implement an early warning intervention system, restrict the use of no-knock warrants, strengthen body camera policies, and restrict the affiliation of law enforcement with white supremacist groups. Some of these policies have already been implemented by the POST board after being rejected by Senate Republicans. These proposals follow a full year of informational hearings the House conducted to address and reduce deadly force encounters between police and communities of color.
In response to this press conference, Senate Republican leadership stated that the work done last July represents the most comprehensive and bipartisan reform possible. Claiming that it is too soon to see transformational reform, Senate Republicans point to the Chauvin verdict and the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department to highlight their belief that any police reform legislation should be taken up in conference committee. With the session coming to a close, Senate Republicans continue to play politics on issues such as the governor giving up his emergency powers and giving the Legislature control in the disbursement of the federal stimulus rollout, while ignoring the historic need for transformational police accountability and public safety legislation.