House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt tells GOP lawmakers to plan on the long haul

    Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul.

    Just days before a June 14 special legislative session that is ostensibly for passing a budget to fund schools, human services, parks and other state operations for the next two years, the negotiations in key areas like public safety and education have deteriorated into dueling press releases.

    House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said Tuesday that he told his caucus to expect to be in St. Paul for the rest of June.

    “I do not believe a deal will be reached completely before June 14th. I have been telling people to plan to be in session from June 14th to July 1st at least. Who knows, it could go longer than that,” he said, according to MPR News reporter Brian Bakst.

    Without a budget by July 1, a government shutdown will begin.

    Minnesota has the nation’s only divided Legislature amid a time of deepening political polarization.

    Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, the chair of the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee, released a statement Tuesday accusing Republicans of “non-helpful posturing” and implored them to “find an agreement with us that will meet the needs of our communities.”

    Reform of policing is one of the most contentious policy disagreements confronting lawmakers in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the killing of Daunte Wright, as well as another police killing last week, of Winston Smith.

    House Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz want changes like tightening regulations of so-called no-knock warrants; banning traffic stops for minor infractions like having expired tabs, which are thought to invite racial profiling; allowing cities to create civilian oversight boards for police; banning police officers from associating with white supremacist groups; and mandating that family members of those killed by police be given access to body camera footage within 48 hours.

    Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has said that it’s important law enforcement officials have input on policy changes that would affect the profession. Republicans have steadfastly backed police groups, regularly stating their support for police and hitting progressives over their calls to defund or abolish the police.

    House Republicans released a proposal Tuesday to stem violent crime in major cities. “We know Minneapolis Police are critically understaffed, but the city has refused to step up to provide the resources necessary to keep communities safe,” Daudt said in a statement.

    Republican and DFL lawmakers also traded barbs Monday on the education budget, with little sign of compromise on what will be about 40% of the overall state budget.

    J. Patrick Coolican
    J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and toddler son.