House and Senate discuss police bills, reform provisions as end of session nears

The legislative session ends May 17.
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Katie Wright

Family members of Daunte Wright and George Floyd testified in front of the legislature last week as lawmakers continue to debate police reform measures.

Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother, spoke in a conference committee Thursday. Lawmakers from both chambers must reconcile the differences in two different criminal justice omnibus bills before the end of the legislative session.

Daunte Wright was fatally shot by police in Brooklyn Center last month.

“It’s terrifying sending your child into the world knowing police might find him suspicious just because of the color of his skin,” Katie Wright said in committee. “These bills will make our community safer and decrease unnecessary interactions with Minnesota law enforcement.”

Katie Wright encouraged lawmakers to pass police reform measures in the House omnibus bill. The bill, which was passed in the House last month, includes a number of police reform measures. 

The House bill would limit police officers’ authority to stop or detain people at traffic stops for petty misdemeanors. It would also allocate $14 million to body-worn cameras, limit no-knock search warrants, expand mental health response training and allow local governments to citizen oversight councils.

Family of George Floyd, who was murdered by former Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin last summer, also spoke Thursday. Brandon Williams, Floyd’s nephew, echoed support for the House legislation.

“We need to see results. We need to see things happen and not talked about. And we need it done with urgency,” Williams said.

The Senate’s omnibus bill, which also passed last month, does not include these police reform measures.

Differences between the two bills will need to be ironed out before the end of session on May 17.

An offer presented by the House in the conference committee would add many of the police reform provisions to the Senate version.

“The House has several provisions. There are several in this offer we are about to make,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul. “Please accept this offer as an invitation to the Senate to take action.”

Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chair of the Senate judiciary and public safety committee, said the Senate would consider the offer and discuss the next steps in coming days. 

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