Sen. Andrew Mathews

The Senate adjourned from the special session [Saturday, June 20]. The special session was primarily called because Governor Walz extended his emergency powers for COVID-19, but Senate Republicans voted the extension down to try to restore the Constitutional balance of power between the legislature and the Governor. Additionally, the Senate negotiated a bonding bill and tax bill, passed legislation to distribute the federal CARES dollars, and multiple police accountability measures. However, all these ultimately broke down over stalemates with the House and the Governor.

During the special session, the CARES act bill, which divides $841 million between every county, city, and town in Minnesota, was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate. The House amended millions of dollars of new spending and previously unseen legislation onto the bill at the Governor’s insistence, effectively tanking it for the session.

The House and Governor either broke their word on agreements or simply dug in their heels on every issue. The Senate Majority came to the table ready to listen and get to work for Minnesotans. We worked for a much-needed jobs and infrastructure bonding bill, fairly distributed CARES aid for our local communities, and passed solid police accountability legislation. Rather than passing the provisions we can all agree upon, they opted to hold it all hostage for far left-wing ideologies and policies.

Instead of making progress, they have opted for nothing. No aid for our counties and cities, or the 11 law enforcement reform bills that we all agreed upon to build trust and accountability in our state.

The Senate’s eleven police accountability bills included many agreed-upon ideas, like banning chokeholds, removing arbitration powers, and letting judges resolve union firing contracts. The House offered 22 bills, including extreme provisions like felon voting and dismantling police departments.

Agreements were made and broken multiple times. We cannot continue negotiations in this manner. We are prepared to keep working on these bills and are ready to come back in a future special session to pass them when agreed upon.

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