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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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RELEASE: Minnesota House Passes Police Accountability Act

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

SAINT PAUL – Today, the Minnesota House approved the Minnesota Police Accountability Act. The legislation, authored by members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus, contains strong police accountability reforms and measures to ensure racial justice.

“Today, we’re beginning to make the overdue changes Minnesotans have been demanding to help ensure no more lives are lost due to police violence,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – Saint Paul), bill author and chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Division. “By passing this bill into law, we’re taking the first steps toward major changes to hold police officers accountable for harmful acts, and we are committed to continuing our work for safer communities. It wasn’t safe for George Floyd or for Philando Castile, and they deserved a better way to police that builds community.”

“Passing this bill is a major step forward toward reimagining our vision for public safety in Minnesota, and it is rooted in our core values of human dignity and the sanctity of life, which are shared across our state,” said Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – Saint Paul), chair of the POCI Caucus. “The solutions in this bill are urgent, and while it doesn’t include all of the POCI Caucus’s accountability proposals, it sets the foundation for a hopeful future for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.”

The bill is comprised of three different acts. The Reclaiming Community Oversight Act includes measures such as a prohibition on “warrior training,” a ban on chokeholds, arbitration reform, requiring the duty to intercede, data collection and regulatory reform – including reforms to the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board and the creation of a new advisory council with citizen voices. The Reforming Accountability Act includes investigatory reform measures and reforms to the use of force. The Reimaging Public Safety Act contains solutions such as mental health and autism training, public safety peer counseling debriefing, and extension of training funds for the POST Board until 2024.

“Since George Floyd’s death, the Minnesota House DFL has worked to deliver systemic change and accountability for policing in Minnesota,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “We have heard the cries for justice, and I’m pleased we have reached an agreement to begin ensuring police are more accountable to the communities they serve. Our work on this important legislation was led by Representatives Mariani and Moran, and the members of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus. We are grateful for their leadership and work.”

“No matter where we were born, what we look like, or where we live, every Minnesotan wants to make it home at the end of the day,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Minnesotans expect and deserve action on this issue. Today, we are taking a first step to bring accountability to law enforcement and ensure our communities are safe for all of us.”

Today’s action follows weeks of work on behalf of the POCI Caucus to advance a package of police accountability reforms following George Floyd’s tragic killing by Minneapolis police officers in May. The House approved a prior version of the legislation during the year’s first special session in June. The Minnesota Senate is expected to approve the legislation later tonight.

Video of the House floor session is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.