KSTP MN Legislation Tracker | KSTP.com

Each week during the session, we're tracking important pieces of legislation as they move through the legislature.

Take a look at bill progress in both the Minnesota House and Senate, as well as weekly previews and reviews, below.

7/24/2020 — Special Session II Review

After an unsuccessful special session last month, Minnesota lawmakers went back to work hoping to accomplish something significant a second special session.

Police reform bills and a bonding bill were among the biggest topics lawmakers worked to reach deals on.

Lawmakers did come to an agreement on a police accountability bill that includes a ban on neck restraints and warrior-style training, some of the biggest changes to the state's criminal justice system in years. Many Democrats said the bill doesn't go far enough but said it’s a good first step.

Gov. Tim Walz signed that bill into law on Thursday.

Once again, a bonding bill agreement wasn't reached. Walz put the blame squarely at the feet of House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, saying Senate Republicans as well as House and Senate Democrats had all compromised on an agreement but Daudt refused. Daudt blamed Democrats for not including House Republicans in negotiations.

While the second special session resulted in one significant accomplishment, partisan bickering was again an issue that prevented more legislation from being passed. It's unclear if Walz would call lawmakers back for another special session, but it's not viewed as likely.

View all previous legislative preview and review posts by clicking here.

6/19/2020 — Special Session Review

Friday marked one week since Minnesota's special session began, but little visible progress was shown over that time. The special session also ended late Friday night.

Last week, Republicans tried to end Gov. Tim Walz's emergency powers but House Democrats blocked that from happening.

Lawmakers have worked on several bills but there hasn't been much progress to show for it as of Friday night.

Democrats and Republicans have both publicly chided each other for the lack of cooperation and pointed fingers at each other for the lack of progress on several major bills. And while Gov. Walz has said he's open to compromise on many topics, he's also said there are certain bills that he's not willing to budge on.

Senate Republicans had set a plan to adjourn on Friday evening early in the week while Walz urged lawmakers to just stay until the work was done, saying that he can call them right back for another special session if there's more work to do.

All of that has led to more public showmanship from each party than actual progress. However, lawmakers did vote on some legislation.

The House passed a police accountability bill to ban chokeholds and prohibit warrior training, among some other things, but that and other police accountability bills made little progress in the Senate.

The House also passed a bill known as the PROMISE Act to help businesses, many run by minorities and immigrants, recover and rebuild.

It also passed:

  • Federal CARES Act funding legislation, which would distribute $841 million to Minnesota cities, counties and towns.
  • An education policy bill.
  • Legislation authorizing Minnesota Management and Budget to give grants to those impacted by COVID-19.
  • A bill to create a Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training and a Police-Community Relations Council to assess and make recommendations for improving policing.

Meanwhile, the Senate approved:

However, only a few of the above bills approved by each chamber were approved or close to being approved in both chambers.

Those included:

However, each chamber approved different versions of those three bills that weren't ironed out as of Friday night, meaning the bill can't go to Walz to become law.

Notably absent from the list of bills is a bonding bill, which Walz highlighted as extremely important to pass this session given that one wasn't passed last year and the cost to borrow for projects is extremely low now due to the pandemic.

The governor did sign three bills this week but not any of the big ones many hoped he'd be signing. He also was able to approve $60 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, told reporters late Friday night that the Senate would adjourn later in the evening but another one-day special session in the future is possible if agreements are reached prior to convening.

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