MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Walz on Wednesday announced that he will convene a special legislative session starting Friday, with police reform and building a stronger economy on the top of his priorities.
“Minnesota is at a turning point. This is our chance to take strong action to combat persistent structural inequities, pass substantive police reform, and build a stronger economy,” said Governor Walz. “I look forward to working with the legislature to seize this moment and build a brighter future for Minnesotans.”
Walz says he supports the recommendations on police reform and accountability that were introduced by the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and the Attorney General’s Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters Working Group.
The proposals support use of force reform; funding for alternatives to policing; greater police oversight; voting restoration; community healing; and prosecutorial, investigatory, and training reform.
“In this unprecedented moment, we must take unprecedented action on police accountability, equity, and economic recovery,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This is not business as usual. We have an extraordinary opportunity to create meaningful, lasting change. We cannot waste this moment with hesitation.”
Governor Walz also stressed that every single option should be considered including doing away with binding arbitration — that arbitration has widely been blamed by critics of the Minneapolis Police Department of allowing officers to be rehired even after they have been fired for disciplinary reasons. That is something that will almost certainly be controversial not just with police unions but also with other labor unions as well.
Walz also laid out plans to build a stronger and more equitable economy, including his bonding proposal, the Local Jobs and Projects Plan, in addition to economic assistance for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The governor also announced plans to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to ensure the state can quickly respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.