The details: The DFL’s public safety package includes limiting traffic enforcement stops for minor violations, adding more civilian oversight of police and curbing use of no-knock warrants.
Between the lines: Last summer’s deal came together with involvement and support from police groups, the business community and members of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus. A similar convening hasn’t happened yet this season.
What’s next: A conference committee of members from both chambers will meet Monday to start hashing out the public safety budget bill — the most likely vehicle for policy changes.
The bottom line: There are probably some areas where both sides can agree. But given that just 17 days remain — and the budget and other big issues loom — major changes sought by some Democrats appear less likely.
I just made the calls. I gave my name, city, and phone # It only took a total of 15 minutes. All calls went to voicemail. If you live in Minnesota and care, please make the calls and comment done. Please share with others. Thanks!
From Michelle Gross with CUAPB. Our important bills to increase police accountability and address policing issues are very, very close to crossing the finish line! THIS IS CRUNCH TIME! Our bills have been rolled into the House omnibus bill, HF 1078. However, the Senate omnibus bill, SF 970, does not contain any of our provisions. Because the bills differ, they will now be heard in a House/Senate conference committee. It is IMPERATIVE the final bill include our provisions. The House/Senate conference committee meets on MONDAY, May 3rd. The members of that committee MUST HEAR FROM YOU IMMEDIATELY.
PLEASE contact *each* of these members of the conference committee and tell them to pass the House version HF 1078 with no changes.
A day after the guilty verdict in the trial of the police officer charged with the killing of George Floyd, the Minnesota House of Representatives advanced a major finance bill containing Public Safety, Criminal Justice Reform, Judiciary and Civil Law legislation on a vote of 70-63. The legislation increases accountability for law enforcement while also increasing investments in public safety. Furthermore, it expands justice for survivors of sexual assault and helps to equip communities for keeping their neighborhoods safe. The bill also focuses on reducing racial bias, decriminalizes poverty, and ensuring that every Minnesotan faces equitable treatment under our justice system.
Said Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (Roseville), Chair of the House Judiciary & Civil Law Committee, “This bill makes systemic changes to reduce bias inherent in our current systems. I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues in the Senate so we can craft a bill that creates equitable justice for all Minnesotans.”
The legislation contains significant new investments in tools for law enforcement, including:
“We said from the start that our public safety reforms last year were just the beginning. The House DFL budget takes strong steps to improve a criminal justice system that lacks sufficient police accountability measures and fails too many victims of sexual assault,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “We know that despite the guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial that our work is far from done. DFLers are committed to delivering safe communities and a fair justice system for all Minnesotans.”
Reach out to key lawmakers to express your views on this legislation:
April 15 — From a story by Axios: Black people are killed by police at higher rates than white people in 47 of the 50 largest cities in the country, according to comparisons from 2013 to 2020.
April 14 — The Minnesota Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) discussed at a news conference this week — after the killing of Daunte Wright by another police officer — the actions some legislators are proposing to improve accountability for law enforcement, including:
Rep. Samantha Vang is chair of the POCI Caucus and represents Brooklyn Center. She said at an April 12 news conference: “We cannot keep doing the same things and expect a different result, we must do better to ensure justice for victims and peace for our future.”
The House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee has held 21 public hearings about police reform and accountability, 11 of which occurred in 2021. In the Senate, there has not been a public hearing about police accountability or reform this year.
Last summer lawmakers passed reforms — such as a prohibition on “warrior training,” a ban on chokeholds, and requiring the duty to intercede — but blocked the House and Governor Walz from enacting other reforms, such as enhanced citizen oversight and strengthening the police officer misconduct database.
“We have held dozens of hearings over the course of the session that were met with resistance and dismissiveness from law enforcement groups and Republican members in both the Senate and the House,” said Rep. Cedrick Frazier ( New Hope), Vice Chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee. “The people of Minnesota deserve and demand a future where community trust is sacred, police officers are held accountable for misconduct, and justice is served. We cannot normalize waking up to a piling list of Black men killed by law enforcement officers.”
The POCI Caucus, UBLC, House DFL, and Senate DFL need public support to pass reforms before the 2021 legislative session adjourns in May.
See the list of suggested bills below.
On Wednesday, April 14th, the Senate POCI Caucus and other community groups will call on state legislative leaders and Governor Walz to suspend all policy and budget negotiations until both the House and Senate have heard and adopted legislation on police accountability.
Some of the pending bills in Minnesota legislature that would help tackle police reform are listed below. There have been over 400 deaths caused by police since 2000. This list was created by a consortium of organizations seeking change: