Minnesota Republicans are reluctant to include police reforms on the public safety omnibus

With Minnesota’s legislative session set to end in the coming weeks, members of the State House and Senate met on Monday, May 3 for its first meeting. The bipartisan group of state officials and senators will strike a compromise between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House, which will hopefully be signed by Democratic Governor Tim Walz.

Senator Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairs the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee and the Biparty Conference Committee. In Monday’s hearing, he said Senate Republicans aim to keep the public safety omnibus goal “narrow,” including only spending measures and not policy proposals, such as police reforms.

“It doesn’t mean that we are opposed to things. It’s just that we don’t believe in including this in a fundraising bill, ”he said.

He went on to say that budget bills are likely to pass on the floor, with lawmakers constitutionally required to pass the state budget every two years, so it is very tempting for lawmakers. add their initiatives to a bill they know will pass. “

“We have tried to be disciplined in this regard and that is why we do not have a lot of policies on this bill unless it involves some type of expense and then we will consider that,” he said. he said. “That is why we have no reform measures on this particular bill.”

Rep. Cedrick Frazier, D-New Hope, who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, responded by saying he disagreed: “This is a bill. omnibus, so it includes more than just budgetary questions.

“I hope the Senate will not use the idea that, because it is a budget year, we cannot really work on some issues that will improve the lives of all Minnesotans,” he said. declared. “I hope it won’t.”

Democrats and Republicans have been stuck for months on public safety policy, especially police reforms. Lawmakers passed a series of police reforms last summer, spurred by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but many Democrats and advocates said at the time that it did not go far enough.

Less than a year after Walz signed the bill, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, just outside Minneapolis, in April. Since then, calls from Democrats for further reform have multiplied, with them and their supporters saying Wright’s death is an indication that last summer’s bills did not go far enough. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have said the state needs more time to see the long-term effects of last year’s legislation.

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