Public Safety Conference Committee
The Minnesota Legislature is beginning to wrap up the work of this legislative session. A key component of this process is the conference committee.
For a bill to become law, the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate must pass identical versions of a bill before it is signed into law by the governor. However, the Minnesota House and Senate often pass bills that are similar, but not identical. As such, these differences must be resolved in a conference committee. This type of committee is bipartisan and includes five members of the Minnesota House and five members of the Minnesota Senate.
I have been selected to be a member of the public safety conference committee. This committee is tasked with reconciling the differences that exist between the House and Senate versions of the public safety omnibus bill. The public safety conference committee is comprised of five senators (4 Republicans and 1 Democrat) and five representatives from the Minnesota House (4 Democrats and 1 Republican). I am honored to be the one Republican from the Minnesota House to work on this committee.
Please see the below video for a more detailed discussion of this conference committee and the conference committee process.
My Objectives for the Public Safety Conference Committee
To my constituents, I want you to know that I recognize the trust you have placed in me. I know that my responsibility is not to sit on the sidelines, complain, or spout off ideas that please the loudest voices in my party. As a legislator, I have a responsibility to govern. My work on this conference committee will be to that end.
Currently, public safety is one of the most discussed topics in Minnesota and across the country. In the last year, we have seen tragedies and lawlessness. People have lost confidence in the organizations and institutions that are meant to ensure public safety. As such, I want to see this conference committee work toward commonsense solutions that will unite our state. I want to be clear; I am not interested in virtue signaling or absurd ideas.
First, the public safety conference committee will have to deal with budgetary issues. The bill we are discussing in this committee does includes necessary funding for the Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota State Police, our state judicial system, and other public safety items. I am confident that we will be able to reach an agreement that properly funds all our public safety systems.
However, we will also be discussing police reform in this committee. I know that this issue generates strong emotions on both sides of the aisle. Nevertheless, we cannot stand by and do nothing. We need to rebuild trust between individuals and communities. We need to listen to one another. Restoration cannot happen if everyone goes to their own corner and yells at each other. I am proud to be a part of this conference committee because I believe we have a duty to come together. Ensuring safety and justice is one of the most sacred responsibilities of government.
Our nation is crying out for leadership on this issue. As a member of this conference committee, I am committed to working in good faith with my Democrat and Republican colleagues. Perhaps in some small way, this conference committee can be an example of how to balance competing public safety interests in a responsible, compassionate way.
I recently joined Governor Tim Walz for a press conference to discuss the public safety conference committee and police reform. My remarks are in the below video.