Senate can, should act quickly on police reform bills

The Senate this week passed a deficiency bill and a resolution about labor less than 24 hours after both were introduced. The bills went straight to the floor with no hearings in committee, proving that the Senate can move quickly when both policy and funding is involved, especially when the majority decides the legislation is important. Despite this proof, Senate Republicans have yet to hear any bills on policing or criminal justice reform this session.

The Senate Republican Majority Leader announced nine days ago that the Senate Judiciary and Transportation committees would be holding fact-finding hearings on reform. He has yet to release any details about this announcement – there is no agenda or any idea of whether any bills will be heard or who will be testifying, and it remains to be seen what the scope of these hearings will be, if they even happen. Even if the hearings do happen, the majority leader has also not committed to passing any legislation, saying reform may or may not happen and that there may not be enough time left this session.

Senate DFLers want to make it clear – there is time left in this session to hold hearings on reform bills and pass legislation. We could have been doing this throughout session if the Senate Judiciary Committee chair hadn’t refused to hear policy bills. We are committed to doing this important work along with House DFLers, who have included many of these provisions worth discussion in their omnibus bill. There are three weeks left in Session, and we should use that time to respond to the demands of our communities and continue our work towards transformational policing and criminal justice reforms. (SF 2441, SR 49)