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Minnesota Lawmakers Fail to Pass Police Reform

Democrats and Republicans are too far apart
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Legislators in Minnesota—the state where George Floyd was killed—huddled all night over police reform and walked away empty-handed, the New York Times reports. Democrats called for major changes to police oversight and Republicans for "common-sense reforms," leading the two chambers to adjourn at around 6am Saturday without a deal. "I am deeply disappointed Senate Republicans chose to leave before finishing our work," said Susan Kent, Senate minority leader for the Democrats, per the Star-Tribune. Paul Gazelka, the state Senate's Republican leader, said "if they're not interested in" his latest offer, "I don't think personally that they'll ever be interested in something that we can agree to."

Democrats wanted Minnesota to beef up deadly-force laws, allow convicted felons to vote, and let the state's attorney general (a Democrat) oversee the prosecution of police killings. Republicans called for milder measures, like prohibiting chokeholds in most police encounters and requiring police to stop officers from using excessive force. Democrats called those half-measures that haven't helped elsewhere, then made a counter-offer at midnight that didn't include voting felons and AG investigations. But the Democrat-led House and Republican Senate still couldn't reconcile. "Minnesotans expect us, like they do in their jobs, to finish when the work is done," said Gov. Tim Walz, who added that this "is at the center of what we should be doing." (Read more George Floyd stories.)

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