MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Monday at noon, both houses of the Minnesota Legislature convene for a second summer special session.
Among the unfinished business includes police reform; a billion-plus infrastructure, jobs and bonding bill; help for riot-torn Minneapolis and St. Paul, and more.
With the pressure building, it’s not clear if an agreement can be reached at all. The problem issues have not only not gone away, but have only gotten more complicated.
It was a week after the regular session ended that George Floyd was killed, moving police reform front and center onto the agenda. While the Democratically-controlled House is still demanding sweeping reforms, Republicans are supporting far more limited changes.
Both parties do agree on general wording when it comes to banning chokeholds and a duty of officers to intervene, but not on potential penalties and implementation.
Police reform has become politically linked to the $1.35 billion infrastructure, jobs and bonding bill — a bill that requires a supermajority or 3/5 of both houses to pass. And the Republicans minority in the house is linking the bonding bill to Gov. Tim Walz backing off his special emergency COVID-19 powers.
It’s a delicate house of cards, and if there isn’t an agreement on everything, it looks like there won’t be an agreement on anything.
Gov. Walz was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, where he said there has been progress in negotiations in the past few days.
“I don’t want to speak out of turn,” Walz said. “I am confident that I am going to get some reforms. I am also confident they are not going to be as much as we need to, but that is somewhat the nature of this thing.”
While the governor is not up for reelection, all 201 members of the legislature are. That puts additional pressures on them in this very volatile and unpredictable election year.