MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was a late night for the Minnesota Senate, with lawmakers working at the Capitol until around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Before adjourning until Friday, they did pass a number of police reform bills. While each of the bills was expected to pass, the question lingering over lawmakers and community leaders is: Is this enough for true reform?
One of the bills that passed addresses officer preparedness, allocating about $5.5 million per year to increase training in things like crisis intervention, autism awareness and mental illness. Another bill gives additional resources for officers to better manage stress.
The key bill bans chokeholds and requires peace officers to speak up and report any excessive use of force. This legislation comes in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody. Former officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Chauvin is faces charges of second-degree murder.
The Senate has four more bills waiting when it reconvenes on Friday. Two have to do with police reform; they would change how use of force is reported and background checks for other police staff.
Meanwhile, community leaders, including the chair of the Peace Officer Training Board, do not think these changes are enough. Additionally, the Minnesota House has its set of bills that most lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Senate likely think goes too far.