WASHINGTON — In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Democratic state legislatures throughout the country are working hard, listening to the needs of their constituents, and enacting meaningful legislation to reform policing in the United States. Meanwhile, Republicans in Floyd’s own home state of Minnesota blocked widespread police reforms during a special session that ended last weekend.
“Democratic majorities put in the work and move our states forward while Republican majorities drag their feet,” said Democratic Legislative Committee President Jessica Post. “Passing police reform is crucial for the protection of our communities and families — especially Black Americans — and the GOP is failing to step up. Voters can see for themselves that electing state Democrats leads to positive change.”
State Democrats across the country are using their majorities to foster progress:
- New York, led by DLCC chair and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, was one of the first states to take action against police violence, passing bills through the legislature including banning chokeholds and making law enforcement disciplinary records available to the public.
- In Colorado, state legislators passed a wide swath of police reforms, including prohibiting qualified immunity as a defense to liability and making law enforcement officers personally accountable for violating an individual’s civil rights.
- Democrats in New Mexico moved swiftly during a special session to pass legislation requiring all police officers to wear body cameras, despite objections from Republicans.
These reforms provide a stark contrast to the divided legislature in Minnesota. After the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party passed criminal justice legislation in the House, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked the bills. Instead of working with the DFL to combat police brutality, the GOP ignored the wishes of their constituents and ended the session, accomplishing nothing.
“Minnesotans have witnessed the good that came from flipping the state House blue in 2018,” added Post. “We’ll use that momentum to win the Senate this year so meaningful criminal justice legislation can finally be passed in the state.”