Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz expressed his frustration Saturday after a weeks-long special session in the state’s Senate failed to pass a police reform bill.
The member of the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said he was “embarrassed” a decision couldn’t be made after the death of George Floyd “and a national reckoning on race and police accountability.”
“The world was watching us,” he added.
Minnesota state Senate Republicans had said they would review changes Democratic lawmakers proposed within a week, officially wrapping everything up Friday — despite having no official deadline.
Republican lawmakers gave what they called “one final offer” on police reforms, which Democrats said fell short of any real changes.
Republicans rejected three proposals, according to FOX 9, including any defunding of the police, granting voting rights to felons and giving the Attorney General jurisdiction over police-involved deaths.
“Minor changes can’t fix major problems,” Democrat Sen. Jeff Hayden said after Senate Republicans presented their offer.
Democratic lawmakers submitted a counteroffer about two hours after Republicans had submitted their initial offer. But Walz said Saturday that Republican lawmakers never responded to the Democratic caucus.
“Senate adjourned without saying what was wrong with that offer on accountability, what was wrong with those issues,” Waltz said during a news conference Saturday, adding: “This is a failure to engage.”
Walz said some legislators take the attitude of “their way or the highway, and that is not acceptable.”
“To take your ball home in the middle of this, this is an embarrassment for Minnesota,” Walz said, making his frustrations clear.
Walz said legislators had more than enough time to read the bill in full and work to negotiate a compromise that both Republicans and Democrats could have agreed on.
“I am a really angry citizen,” Walz added, urging Republican and Democratic senators to come back to the table and negotiate.