Minnesota lawmakers commence special session Friday

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A lot is on the table for Minnesota lawmakers when they return to the State Capitol for a special session Friday.

Topics range from police reforms, to coronavirus response and the long-lasting debate over the 2020 bonding bill.

A majority of these proposals are centered on police violence.

Gov. Tim Walz said many of these problems aren’t new but that action is needed following the death of George Floyd.

Friday’s special session officially begins at noon and will focus mainly on policing.

On Thursday, Walz laid out some of those proposals.

Walz, legislative leaders announce priorities for special session

They include creating a new unit within the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, focused on police-involved cases.

Walz and other leaders also said they would like to see a new office within the Department of Public Safety that would distribute grants to community-based violence prevention.

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Use of force is another main topic.

"These reforms have been needed for a long time, these reforms have been thought out, these reforms have been implemented in other places and the data shows that they work," Walz said. "We need to do it at the legislature. We need to do it with democracy and the people being lifted up, the benefit of that is not only the change that it brings to the community, it restores faith that the system can work for them."

Republicans control the Senate and though they have shown support for some measures, Senate Majority Leader, Paul Gazelka, also criticized the governor.

He indicated the Senate’s priority will be to curb the governor’s power to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency. One of their main goals, Gazelka said, is to re-open the state.

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