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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL)

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At Maple Grove town hall, lawmakers discuss commitment to police accountability and reform

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Minnesota House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Division hosted a public forum in Maple Grove Wednesday, July 1 with legislators and the community to discuss police accountability legislation. Legislators  including members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus  and community members alike demanded focus at the State Capitol remain on eliminating systemic racism and re-imagining public safety.

“What George Floyd experienced – and what people across the world witnessed – was an urgent call to action that our status quo vision of policing no longer works,” said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), chair of the POCI Caucus. “The work to deliver racial justice and police accountability isn’t easy, but Minnesotans – especially from Black, Indigenous and communities of color – deserve to see results from the Legislature. It’s time for Senate Republicans to meet us in this moment and work with us to advance these meaningful changes.”

“Minnesotans can’t wait any longer for the structural changes necessary to ensure everyone, no matter where they live or what they might look like, can be safe in their communities,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – Saint Paul), chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Division. “This is an issue of the utmost urgency throughout our state, and it’s time to make real progress on real reforms.”

Today's forum followed a recent special session during which the House passed the Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020, legislation developed following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. The bill is a comprehensive package of reforms to hold law enforcement accountable, reclaim community oversight, and re-imagine public safety.

Instead of working with the POCI Caucus and House DFLers to reach a resolution on urgently needed reforms, the Senate – with Republicans in the Majority – walked away by adjourning the June 2020 special session. The Senate Judiciary Committee is chaired by Sen. Warren Limmer (R – Maple Grove). Over the course of the current biennium, he held no public hearings about strong criminal justice reform solutions, despite many of them carrying bipartisan support.

Governor Tim Walz is expected to call another special session as soon as next week.

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The People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) Caucus includes Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn (42B), Aisha Gomez (62B), Hodan Hassan (62A), Kaohly Her (64A), Mary Kunesh-Podein (41B), Fue Lee (59A), Alice Mann (56B), Carlos Mariani (65B), Rena Moran (65A), Mohamud Noor (60B), Ruth Richardson (52B), Samantha Vang (40B), Jay Xiong (67B), Tou Xiong (53B), and Sens. Melisa Franzen (49), Foung Hawj (67), Jeff Hayden (62), Bobby Joe Champion (59), and Patricia Torres Ray (63).