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RELEASE: House DFLers continue to push for robust police accountability reforms in Public Safety budget

Thursday, May 06, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, House DFLers on the Public Safety/Judiciary budget conference committee renewed their efforts to enact a strong package of police accountability reforms. During this afternoon’s meeting, the DFL members advocated for measures including enhanced citizen oversight, strengthening the police misconduct database, a prohibition on many unnecessary traffic stops, and more. Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s nephew, and other family members who’ve lost loved ones testified before the committee in support of the legislation.

“As the days of the legislative session tick down, today House DFLers are standing alongside the families of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and the other Minnesotans whose lives were taken away too soon. We must deliver broad, systemic changes to ensure our communities can receive justice,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – Saint Paul), House Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform Committee Chair. “There is a need to act now. The status quo only continues to result in Black Minnesotans dying at the hands of law enforcement and that is unacceptable. Our state is at a critical moment, and it’s time for Senate Republicans - who have not so much as held a hearing on this - to act and join us in creating a public safety structure that values human life and dignity.” 

To work toward a final agreement on the legislation, House DFLers put forth an offer to the Republican-controlled Senate containing the following proposals, along with their original bill numbers and chief authors:

  • Allowing local governments to establish civilian councils for oversight of law enforcement (HF 640, Gomez)
  • Changes to the use of no-knock warrants (HF 1762, Hollins)
  • Requirement for law enforcement to provide Duty to Intercede reports to the POST Board Police (HF 464, Lucero)
  • Enhancement of the police misconduct database to get bad officers off the streets earlier (HF 1374, Frazier)
  • Creation of a model policy for law enforcement response to public assemblies (HF 445, Mariani)
  • Eliminating certain statutes of limitations for peace officers (HF 717, Vang)
  • Ban on peace officers’ affiliation with white supremacist groups (HF 593, Frazier)
  • Matthew’s Law, requiring the POST Board to develop a comprehensive model policy addressing the use of confidential informants (HF 237, Quam)
  • Travis’s Law, requiring 911 operators to refer calls involving a mental health crisis to mental health crisis teams when appropriate (HF 1686, Hanson, J.)
  • Requirement to preserve body camera footage in deadly force incidents, and to make it available to family members within 48 hours and to the public within 90 days (HF 1103, Thompson)
  • Sign and release warrants (HF 2593, Long)
  • Limitation on certain traffic stops (HF 1374, Frazier)

“The Republican Senate continues to refuse any progress on policy issues to reform our public safety system. They have refused to hold hearings all session, refused to acknowledge the pain and suffering many Minnesotans have gone through this year alone, and are now refusing to engage during these conference committees,” said Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL - New Hope). “The community is here, at the table, exhausted, and asking to have their voices heard at the state legislature. The Senate Republicans’ failure to act is a clear message that ‘all lives’ don’t matter, especially not Black ones.”

In addition to members of George Floyd and Daunte Wright’s families, members of law enforcement, the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board, the ACLU of Minnesota, and representatives from other organizations provided testimony.

Video of the hearing is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information about the conference committee – including comparisons of each chamber’s version of the legislation – is available on the committee webpage.