Police reform proposals still pending in the Minnesota Legislature are likely to require some high-level intervention after a month of closed-door negotiations.
"We've not had a ton of progress," said Rep. Carlos Mariani, the St. Paul Democrat leading the House in the debate. "It's frustrating but kind of not surprising. The Legislature tends, for better or worse — I think sometimes it's worse — to move rapidly only when the pressure is on."
Senate GOP leaders have long insisted on focusing on the budget and leaving most policy proposals on the table until next year. But there are signs of agreement on some of the police reform bills that emerged after the Brooklyn Center police shooting of Daunte Wright this spring.
New regulations on confidential informants and mental health crisis calls have support in both chambers, Mariani said. Data collection for the new "early warning system" on officer misconduct maintained by the state's police licensing board and regulations on no-knock warrants could also pass.
Mariani has also expressed optimism over a pair of bills that would curb traffic stops for equipment or registration violations and end arrests for outstanding warrants for certain low-level violations.
He acknowledged pushback on proposals to let communities create citizen review boards for police and release body camera footage to relatives within 48 hours of a deadly police encounter.
For his part, Sen. Warren Limmer, the Maple Grove Republican coleading the talks, said in a statement that "we will stick to our core principles of safety for the public, justice for victims of crime, and ensuring the law enforcement community has the support and training they need to professionally serve Minnesotans."
Democrats also want to ban police officers from affiliating with white supremacist groups, but the GOP wants to include other groups.
The surging bloodshed around the Twin Cities and elsewhere in the past month could also influence debate when lawmakers return to St. Paul on Monday.
House Republicans last week urged Gov. Tim Walz to deploy the State Patrol to "high-risk areas of Minneapolis" as former governors did to respond to violent crime in the past. The GOP also called on Minneapolis to bolster its police force through federal relief money and expand violence intervention and community relations programs.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, also highlighted recent killings allegedly carried out by people who had a previous jail sentence stayed by a judge or who were awaiting trial for an earlier violent crime.
Walz later said tackling the uptick in violence will require agencies at multiple levels working together and with communities, but he described proposals to send in more state troopers as a "simplistic answer to a complex problem."
"We certainly agree that there is work to be done, but the idea once again of just throwing the State Patrol or, worse yet, a non-policing agency like the National Guard doesn't really get to the heart of this," Walz said.