The Senate adjourned from the special session early last Saturday morning. A week of negotiations on how best to spend federal CARES dollars, assemble a bonding bill, and pass police accountability ultimately broke down over stalemates from the House and the Governor. Senator Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) made the following comments in response –
“This special session was called because Governor Walz wanted to extend his emergency powers, which the Senate Republicans voted down. The emergency has obviously passed, though one man continues to call the shots for all areas of the state.
As for every other item that was on the agenda for this special session, I wish I was surprised by the lack of cooperation. The House and Governor have effectively ended any efforts to work in a bipartisan manner. They tacked millions of extra spending and random policy (that was never vetted in either body) onto the CARES act bill, which divides $841 million between every county, city, and town in Minnesota. The clean version of the bill was agreed upon and passed by the Senate. The House has crushed the opportunity for rural areas to receive much-needed financial help.
They have also walked away from generous, reasonable law enforcement reforms meant to build trust. The Senate passed eleven law enforcement accountability bills, which 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. They would not take our eleven offers.
The state’s constitution stipulates a bonding bill must originate in the House, and despite the Senate passing a historic investment in our state, the bonding bill was not brought up for a vote in the House before the Senate adjourned.
The Senate did their work and did it well. We cannot pass good legislation when the other equal branches of government would prefer to play games.”