MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A bill with at least 20 police reforms is moving forward in DFL-controlled Minnesota House committees, but it does not appear to be picking up support among Republicans so far.

They’re promising to end the special session by Friday, so it’s possible it could end without the significant reforms that protestors have been calling for. Their growing concern is that an impasse has emerged that may not have a solution and certainly not by this Friday, when Republicans say they want to go home.

The DFL package of police reforms in the wake of the George Floyd killing, and includes changing the wording of police deadly force statute, transferring deadly force cases to the Minnesota Attorney General, a statewide ban on chokeholds, a duty to intervene regardless of rank, and residency requirements for officers. Those are all moving forward in DFL-controlled House committees.

But the measures have some under sharp attack from Republican House members, and that is expected to also happen in the GOP-controlled Senate.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that exists most broadly in a couple of entities, and those are the entities that have work to do in their own city council and mayoralships. This is far too broad,” Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) said.

“The eyes of the world are on Minnesota, as they should be. It’s a problem in our state and across the country. I have heard comments like its a knee-jerk reaction, and frankly it’s about time we jerked the knees off the necks of people like George Floyd,” House Majority Leader Rep. Ryan Winkler said.

The Republican-controlled Senate will be taking up a few police reform measures at a Senate Judiciary Hearing early Tuesday.

The one area that the Senate appears to at least be on the same page is the proposed ban on chokeholds and duty to intervene regardless of rank, but there are still differences. So despite the enormous impact of George Floyds death it’s not clear if a unified package of reform legislation will emerge from this special session.

Gov. Tim Walz laid out the consequences of inaction, saying “Us as a state either devolving into political and partisan sniping about this or us adjourning on Friday, in my opinion, will affect the tone of how this state is view for generations.”

The Republicans will take up a package of their own proposed reforms, which are much smaller than the DFL proposals.

A ban on chokeholds has already passed in the city of Minneapolis and has been passing in a number of other states in the past week.

Esme Murphy

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