Updated: June 11, 2021 06:18 PM
Created: June 11, 2021 05:38 PM
Governor Tim Walz says he's "super optimistic" the Minnesota Legislature can complete a quick special session by next week or at least before June 30. Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there's been "lots" of progress on Thursday and Friday. However, with all the negotiations going on in private, it's impossible to verify how much progress is being made.
While touring a local brewery Friday morning to promote beer discounts for people who get the COVID vaccine, Walz said lawmakers are making a concerted effort to reach agreements on more than a dozen budget bills.
"They presented them in a passionate, spirited way and then tried to reach some compromise," Walz told reporters. "I have to tell you I am more optimistic and I have been optimistic we'd get this done. But I'm super optimistic after yesterday. There were compromises reached and we were taking on some pretty tough ones. It was health and human services, it was education, it was housing, it was state government."
Those talks will continue through the weekend.
While progress appears to be happening on the budget, the same can't be said about negotiations on police reform. One of the key House DFL negotiators, Rep. Cedrick Frazier of New Hope, says Republicans aren't making any moves toward compromise.
"They have not gone very far to meet us in the middle," Frazier said in an interview recorded for "At Issue" to air Sunday morning at 10 a.m. "None of the proposals we have we consider to be controversial or radical. We've made seven offers to this point. They've made one offer. We made two counteroffers after they made the one initial offer and to this day, we're a week out from that last offer and they have not responded."
When Gazelka was on "At Issue" two weeks ago he said Republicans are willing to compromise, but won't agree to anything that is considered anti-police. He specifically cited eliminating "qualified immunity," which protects police officers from being sued individually and civilian review boards overseeing police. Frazier says the House DFL bill doesn't eliminate qualified immunity and leaves the creation of civilian review boards up to local governments.
"The provisions we have in this bill are specifically designed to raise the profession and help our law enforcement officers," Frazier said. "We're talking about providing mental health support when there's mental health crisis calls. We're talking about providing body cameras. We're talking about providing training. These are things that are going to help our officers. There's nothing in here that's anti-police."
Late Friday, Walz officially notified the legislature he's calling them into a special session to finish a two-year budget and approve his request for a 30-day extension of emergency powers.
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