Walz's Statement Presses GOP To Pass 'Meaningful' ReformBy WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus of the Minnesota Senate, along with Gov. Tim Walz, are urging the Minnesota Legislature to pass “meaningful” police reform before the end of the legislative session.

On Tuesday, Walz released a statement after receiving a letter by the POCI Caucus of the Minnesota Senate, which calls for immediate negotiations of the Judiciary and Public Safety Budget Bill. The letter was also sent to top legislators, including Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.

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The POCI Caucus says the plan will allow police reform to pass quickly and independently from other bills. A deadline was set for May 3 for the bill to be sent to the floor of both houses for a vote to ensure the bill remains separate from other negotiations.

“The plan would bring transparency, accessibility, and urgency to the effort to act on police reform in Minnesota,” Walz said.

The public safety budget bill includes making body camera video available within 48 hours when there’s an officer-involved death, and creating a model policy for responding to protests. It would also establish local civilian review boards and prohibit peace officers from affiliating with, supporting, or advocating for white supremacist groups, among other provisions.

Walz’s statement urged Republicans in the legislature to help quickly pass the reform.

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“I stand with the POCI Caucus in full support of this bill. I urge Republicans in the legislature to put politics aside to pass these much-needed reforms on their own, independent from unrelated bills,” Walz said.

In the hours following last week’s guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, Walz said he will “burn his political capital” on pressing the Minnesota Legislature to take further action on police accountability measures in the final weeks of session.

Derek Chauvin, an ex-Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death last summer. Walz called the conviction “the floor, not the ceiling” for achieving racial justice in Minnesota.

Walz said he would go on offense and if legislative action continues to stall. Some DFL lawmakers have called for halting budget negotiations until more police reform legislation is approved and sent to the governor for his signature.

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The legislative session is slated to end on May 17.