Minnesota Senate to discuss policing overhaul plans

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Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol, members of the Senate are expected to take up several policing reform measures.

The call for change has been a top priority for lawmakers following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis more than three weeks ago.

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Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said he wants the special session to end this Friday, but members of the House said there shouldn’t be a timeline.

Republicans wanted to pass some police reforms this week, but as far as a complete overhaul, Gazelka said they should wait.

Tuesday, the Senate will look at five bills and could vote on four of them later in the afternoon.

Since Floyd’s death, Minneapolis City Council and some community members have called for more action, but Gazelka said there needs to be two stages: a short-term and a long-term approach.

Tuesday’s proposals include background checks for other police staff, police counseling support, law enforcement training funding, and use of force reporting to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Use of force policies will be discussed but not voted on.

Meanwhile DFLers say Republicans are not doing enough.

"We have this opportunity to make sure that every single person in our state can feel safe and be protected and receive equal treatment under the law," said Rep. Dave Pinto (D-St. Paul).

Gazelka said, "A number of those bills actually came from Democrats; it was our attempt to be bi-partisan. The fact that we will band chokehold deaths is important. It was a significant thing that we were willing to say is important, to set a standard that is good for Minnesota but I just think it is political games. The fact that we are willing to do a number of things during this short session where we don’t have a lot of time shows that we have good faith and effort and we are going to continue to follow through on that."

Gazelka said, typically, a special session would only last one day, but he proposed eight.

The Senate will also look at a bonding bill and two education bills Tuesday.