ST. PAUL, Minn. – Late Tuesday evening, the Minnesota Senate passed five bills related to criminal justice and policing reform. The legislation, handpicked by Senate Republicans, did not include any meaningful proposals suggested by members of the legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, nor did the bills receive an official committee hearing where amendments are normally made to improve and finalize support for bills.
Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan) released the following statement laying out his priorities for the special session.
“Every Minnesotan deserves to feel safe and respected in their community, yet this is not the case for far too many Minnesotans of color. Everyone deserves equal protection under the law, but it’s clear that this is not the reality for our Black and brown and indigenous community members.
Senate Republicans made no attempt to reach out to members of the POCI Caucus for their input, and only allowed one informational-only hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss these bills. During that hearing, and during today’s debate, it was made clear that we need a transformational change to our system of criminal justice and policing. Instead of listening, my colleagues in the majority continued to ignore the efforts to enact real, meaningful reform.
The world is watching our response to the murder of George Floyd, and we must not shy away from this moment. Today’s legislation is a failure of working together to address what Minnesotans have clearly said we need.”