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Legislative leaders reach deal on public safety bill; expected on House Floor Tuesday

House Photography file photo

Legislative leaders reached a deal Saturday on public safety legislation that includes several police reform and accountability measures supported by the House, but that also left out many others.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said in a statement the agreement doesn’t include some of the important police reform and accountability measures pushed by the House, “but it is a step forward in delivering true public safety and justice for all Minnesotans despite divided government.”

Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul), who sponsors SSHF63, was more direct on the matter, calling the omission of so many of the House provisions on police reform “a great disappointment.”

Mariani spoke at a Sunday morning meeting of the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee, which approved the bill, as amended, to substitute the agreement language, and sent it to the House Floor. There is no Senate companion.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) said he expects the bill to be debated on the floor Tuesday, one day before the June 30 deadline to finish all budget bills and avoid a partial government shutdown, which would begin July 1.

Among changes in the bill, it would:

  • regulate the use of no-knock warrants;
  • require 911 operators to refer calls to mental health crisis teams in certain situations;
  • reform civil asset forfeiture laws;
  • prohibit the use of restraints on children appearing in court;
  • reform jail safety rules – The Hardel Sherrell Act;
  • establish new policies addressing the use of confidential informants – Matthew’s Law;
  • establish the Office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives; and
  • create a Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women “to advise the commissioner of public safety and report to the legislature on recommendations to reduce and end violence against African American women and girls in Minnesota.”

House positions not in the bill include:

  • prohibiting police officers from associating with white supremacist groups;
  • prohibiting police traffic stops for minor infractions;
  • requiring “sign and release” warrants for certain infractions such as missing a court appearance; and
  • requiring police agencies to release body camera footage within 48 hours to family members of a person killed by police.

The bill also sets a budget for the Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, Minnesota courts, civil legal services, Guardian ad Litem Board, Tax Court, Uniform Laws Commission, Board on Judicial Standards, Board of Public Defense and Human Rights Department.

Included in the bill is a 2.5% raise for judges and court employees and grants for courthouse security.

The agreement language settled on a total of $2.6 billion in funding; details can be viewed in the spreadsheet.

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