House, Senate public safety leaders optimistic about police reform agreement

Even though it was a highly contentious debate last year during a special session, the two key lawmakers seeking compromise on the issue of police accountability are optimistic about an agreement this year.

"I’m actually very optimistic," said Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, the chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. "I’m looking forward to negotiating with my counterpart Sen. [Warren] Limmer. We have several provisions on the table that are all very common-sense approaches to this issue and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to work those out."

Those include prohibiting police from pulling drivers over for expired license tabs and other administrative issues, forcing early release of body cam video in certain cases and creating more civilian review boards. The House held hearings on all these issues and included them in a bill. The Senate did not pass any police accountability measures or conduct hearings.

Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chair of the Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Committee, says he’s optimistic about an agreement, too. But he says he’s concerned about the recent violent crime wave in the Twin Cities at the same time police are facing criticism.

"The Twin Cities is now experiencing a wave of violent crime throughout the Twin Cities and you see it in carjackings up, you see it in murders up, you see it in shootings up, you see it in little kids getting shot in neighborhoods that had nothing to do with the crime at all," he said. "And yet we still hear the echoes of defund police throughout certain urban areas. Quite honestly, that’s gotta stop."

You can see the entire interviews with Limmer and Mariani on "At Issue" Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.