- By Scott McClallen
(The Center Square) – Gov. Tim Walz said he will call lawmakers back to St. Paul on Monday with aims to seal a deal on police reform and a bonding bill.
“I am asking Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature to work together on the urgent matters Minnesotans expect them to tackle this summer,” Walz said in a statement.
“Our state had a trying few months, and we need the Legislature to rise to the occasion and get things done to help Minnesotans rebuild and recover. Give me a bill to sign on police accountability and reform and let’s work together to build a stronger, more equitable economy by investing in local jobs and projects across the state.”
Walz says he supports police reform suggestions from the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus and Attorney General Keith Ellison’s Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters Working Group.
The Democratic governor also said he will extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by another 30 days to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coalition for Greater Minnesota Cities President and Willmar City Council member Audrey Nelsen also encouraged lawmakers to pass a bonding bill.
“Communities across the state have had to delay critical infrastructure projects because legislators have been unable to work together,” Nelsen said in a statement. “We’ve waited long enough.”
Nelsen named millions of dollars in water infrastructure projects that have been caught in political gridlock for weeks.
“We need a bonding bill to replace arsenic-filled drinking water with clean water in southern Minnesota, get mercury out of the water in northern Minnesota, stop riverbank erosion in Mankato, provide drinking water that is free from dangerous chemicals in Bemidji. The list goes on and on – and that doesn’t even begin to address crumbling roads and bridges, aging public buildings and other important projects.”
Nelsen emphasized that legislators serve constituents who will benefit from the projects included in the bonding bill.
“The state and local communities are still suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest. By passing a bonding bill, the Legislature can provide an immediate boost to the economy, create jobs and help our cities begin to move forward from these past few difficult months,” Nelson said.