Minnesota Legislative Leaders Agree On Public Safety Budget Bill


ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) – Leading Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Minnesota reached agreement on the highlights of a public safety bill that includes police accountability measures, a day after the former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the death of George Floyd.

While some details have yet to be finalized, leaders of both sides said the compromise reached on Saturday evening settled key issues after months of negotiations. This is the most controversial part of budget negotiations in a divided legislature that faces a Wednesday deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The Democrat-controlled State House has included several policing provisions in its comprehensive public safety budget bill this session in hopes of building on a package that the Legislature approved last summer in the following Floyd’s death below Chauvin’s knee.

The 223-page bill includes provisions regulating the use of no-strike warrants, a police misconduct database to create an early warning system to get bad officers off the streets, and the creation of an office for missing and murdered indigenous parents as well as a working group for missing and murdered black women.

“This does not include some of the important police reform and accountability measures advocated by the House, but it is a step forward towards real public safety and real justice for all Minnesotans despite a divided government,” Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman said.

Democrats had argued for limits on pretext roadside checks, where police stop a driver for a minor offense, like expired tabs or something hanging in the rearview mirror. That surge escalated after police in the Brooklyn Center suburb shot dead Daunte Wright for driving with expired tablets. This proposal is not part of the agreement.

Republicans who control the Senate have resisted many Democrats’ proposals, calling some “anti-police.” GOP negotiations have at times focused on those pushing to abolish the police, as well as the violent protests after Floyd’s murder. The deal includes $ 2 million for violent crime teams, a provision backed by Republicans.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he was “confident that we would finish the bill and keep the Minnesotans safe.”

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