Senate Republicans make 'final offer' on Minnesota police reforms as lawmakers struggle to reach deal

Senate Republicans say they've made "one final offer" on a package of police reforms for Minnesota while Democrats say the compromise doesn't go far enough.

Despite optimistic remarks by Governor Walz earlier in the evening, Friday night, it appeared Democrats and Republicans weren't much closer to reaching an agreement on an extensive package of police reforms.

Friday was the self-imposed deadline set by Senate Republicans for a special session called by the governor.

The GOP's offer included minor changes to the POST Board, which rules on police punishments, additional training and resources for officer mental health programs, banning chokeholds, and requiring officers to intervene during excessive force incidents, among other changes.

However, Republicans drew the line on certain issues, including having the Attorney General's Office handle all police-involved deaths, defunding a police force, and restoring voting rights for felons.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Republicans would continue to work through the night to reach an agreement but said they'd end the special session if no common ground could be found.

Gazelka did say Republicans would be willing to return for a follow-up session at some point in the future to pass legislation on reform.

"Many of the things they are talking about are in these bills," said Gazelka. "So we added another very significant piece. We don't think that -- if they're not interested in this, I don't think personally they'll ever be interested in something we can agree to."

Senate Democrats said the changes proposed by the Republicans didn't go far enough to fix policing issues.

"Minor changes can't fix major problems," responded Democratic Senator Jeff Hayden. "So I think all of you guys saw what Senator Gazelka, the Republican Caucus brought, they're very minor changes."

A House Democratic leader said, however, they just received the offer and will review the legislation.