Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday made the expected Special Session for the Minnesota Legislature official. It will start on June 12.
The Minnesota House and Senate adjourned sine die on May 18, marking the end of the 2020 legislative session. But many items were left undone, and after the police killing of George Floyd, more things were added to the to-do list, including police reform legislation.
The Democratic governor said Wednesday that his focus during the Special Session will be on police accountability and reform, as well as building a stronger and more equitable economy.
“Minnesota is at a turning point. This is our chance to take strong action to combat persistent structural inequities, pass substantive police reform, and build a stronger economy,” Gov. Walz said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the legislature to seize this moment and build a brighter future for Minnesotans.”
Walz says he supports recommendations on police reform and accountability that will be introduced by the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus and the Attorney General's Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters Working Group, which support the use-of-force reform, funding alternatives to policing, greater police oversight, voting restoration, community healing, and prosecutorial, investigatory and training reform.
Meanwhile, his focus on building a stronger economy will include a bonding proposal, economic assistance for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and work with local partners to provide assistance for businesses affected by the protests and riots in the Twin Cities following Floyd's death.
Walz said he also plans to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to make sure the state can quickly respond to the pandemic.
The governor is the only one who can call a special session. As for how long the Special Session will last, Walz said in a news conference that the focus needs to stop being on time, but on results – "We can leave when we get the people's work done," he said.