Policing reforms enacted, bonding will wait
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July 24, 2020
Special Session II Ends

Special Session II started on Mon., July 13 and concluded in the wee hours of Tues., July 21. Before adjourning Special Session II, the House (102-29) and Senate (60-7) passed legislation implementing several policing reforms in Minnesota. The House voted on a bonding bill that again failed to gain a required supermajority of votes. The House also failed to pass two other bills sent from the Senate. Both dealt with COVID payments, one for day programs for the disabled and the other for dentists.

Legislation directing the Department of Driver and Vehicle Services to provide the drivers license knowledge test online was passed by the House and Senate. The bill is expected to help reduce the driver license testing backlog.
Policing Reforms

After numerous weeks of negotiations, the House, Senate, and governor agreed to and passed HF1 (Mariani/Limmer). Highlights of the bill include:
  • Banning chokeholds in all but extreme circumstances.
  • Prohibiting warrior training that encourages aggressive conduct.
  • Requiring an officer to intervene when another officer is using excessive force.
  • Allowing cities and counties to offer extra incentives for officers to be residents of the communities they patrol.
  • Requiring autism awareness training for officers.
  • Establishing an arbitrator selection procedure to determine arbitrators to be used in peace officer grievance cases.

During Special Session II, the House voted on and failed to approve a hybrid bonding/tax bill. The bill did not receive the required supermajority of votes needed for passage as House Republicans voted against the bill, stating they were left out of the bill’s negotiating process and wish to see Gov. Walz concede some of his emergency powers authority.

The House’s bonding package passed committee and headed to the floor for a vote before the whole body. HF3 (Murphy) contained $1.8 billion in capital investment projects including:
  • $323 million in General Obligation and Transportation Funds for MnDOT for road construction.
  • $300 million in Trunk Highway Bonds including $84 million for road construction.
  • $110 million for Rail Grade Separations.
  • $10 million for the Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program.
  • $2 million for Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure Grants.
  • $100 million for Housing Infrastructure Bonds to buy and build multifamily rental housing for households at or below 50% of median income.
  • Full federal conformity and retroactivity on section 179 deductions.
  • $254 million for the Public Facilities Authority including:
    • $25 million for the State Match for Federal Grants to State Revolving Loan Programs.
    • $55.5 million for the Water Infrastructure Funding Program (Clean and Drinking water infrastructure).

Hope remains for action on a bonding bill during another Special Session.
Returning to School

In the Senate, there was lengthy debate on two education proposals regarding the return to school this fall. The first was a Senate resolution urging the governor to exclude public schools from any further executive orders issued under his emergency powers. They argued that this would allow local school districts to decide their own individual plans for the 2020-2021 school year rather than a blanket executive order. The resolution passed the Senate, but a similar proposal was not taken up in the House. The second proposal, SF3, proposed to direct $25 million from the federal coronavirus relief fund for school reopening grants. The House did not take up the companion to either proposal, so nothing ultimately was passed.
Special Session III

Gov. Walz is expected to again extend his peacetime emergency powers authority later in July. Doing so will trigger a third special session.
They Said it...

After decades of advocacy by communities of color and Indigenous communities, the bipartisan passage of these measures is a critical step toward justice.”
–Gov. Tim Walz, on a bipartisan compromise on policing reforms

Ewald Government Relations Team
David Ewald

Valerie Dosland

Phil Griffin

Troy Olsen

Becca Pryse


Allie Spellman


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