Legislature fails to agree on bonding bill, compromises on police reform

The state’s bonding bill did not get the necessary votes in the Minnesota House during the second special session, so lawmakers will likely need to come back for a third.

Representative John Persell of Bemidji expressed his disappointment that the bonding bill fell short of passing by six votes.

Bemidji’s stakes in the bonding bill include funding for a water treatment plant, with language included to reimburse the state should the city be successful in litigation.

Bemidji’s water issues stem from the levels of PFAs in the wells. The PFAs are sourced to the use of a firefighting foam at the Bemidji Regional Airport, directly above the well field. Should litigation against the vendor of that foam be successful, the state would be reimbursed $4 million.

The third special session will also give opportunity to the legislature, should the House and Senate agree, to block Gov. Tim Walz from extending the peacetime state of emergency another 30 days. The last extension was on July 13.

The House and Senate did come to an agreement on a police reform package, which Walz said he would sign into law.

The legislation aims to provide better training for mental health and crisis intervention, require the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to adopt a comprehensive use of force model policy to be implemented by every law enforcement agency, and to create a centralized database of officer misconduct complaints.

Read more about what the bill includes here.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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