MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What appeared to be a possible compromise on police accountability and COVID-19 funds fell apart in early hours of Saturday morning as the Minnesota legislature voted to adjourn the special session.
The session started on June 12, with high hopes of police reform after George Floyd’s death. But throughout the week, it became apparent that the Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled House had different expectations.
At 6 a.m. on Saturday, after a week of negotiations, the legislature voted to adjourn, 35-32.
“I’m frustrated this morning because I thought we were actually going to do some things together,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “We had the opportunity to do good things for the senate with the federal COVID funds, pass a bonding bill, and reform police accountability. I actually thought we could get something done, but the behind-the-scenes arm-twisting from the Governor has ended any hope of working together right now.”
For the Republicans, one of their major priorities was ending Gov. Walz’s emergency powers. They have been trying to end his powers since May, when the regular legislative session ended in shambles after the Senate refused to pass Walz’s $2 billion bonding bill. As a result, critical jobs, construction projects, and education funding were left hanging in the balance.
The House proposals, developed by the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, included a bills on the ban on warrior-style training for officers and residency requirements for police. Currently, only 8% of Minneapolis police live in the city.
Republicans ruled out many of the House’s proposals, including one that would have the state attorney general – Keith Ellison – prosecute all cases of police deadly force. Democrats also tried to put forth a bill that would restore voting rights for felons, but that was also denied by Republicans.
Though Gazelka said he would pack up and go home after the end of the special session, Minnesota Democrats said they are willing to keep working and collaborating.
“The Minnesota House DFL is ready and willing to continue working to find agreement with Senate Republicans and the Governor on policing reform and accountability, addressing COVID-19 and its economic impacts, bonding, taxes, and much more,” said Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman.
The House and the Senate adjourned with no specific date to return. Lawmakers will not return until the Governor calls them back for a new special session.
Source: CBS Minnesota