SRO fix legislation headed to floor on Monday

Legislative leaders say bipartisan passage is expected after law enforcement leaders sent a letter to the House speaker this week supporting the amended bill.

The House Rules Committee voted to add the bill to its Calendar of the Day for the Monday, March 4 floor session. (Shutterstock)

Legislative leaders from both parties have indicated they believe the “SRO fix” bill that has been closely watched this session is likely to pass in the House of Representatives on Monday.

On Thursday, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman told media she had received a letter from law enforcement leaders endorsing the most recent version of HF3489 that cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday.

That bill, authored by Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, had been bouncing around a handful of committees last month, as legislators on both sides of the aisle debated whether its language was palatable to a number of key stakeholders, including the law enforcement and education communities.

Factions within the DFL that formed last fall over the issue have continued to pit members of the same caucus against each other, with some saying they don’t want to see any fix to the legislation that went into effect last August. But Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, put any lingering doubts to rest, during a press conference on Thursday, that the bill may not have enough DFL support to pass on the floor.

“It is a bill that law enforcement and members of the community, the cities and education professionals have worked very hard on,” Hortman said. “And it’s time to get it in the rearview mirror and get those SROs back where they want to be in the schools.”

Republican leaders also expressed their optimism the bill will pass. On Thursday, the House Rules Committee voted to add the bill to its Calendar of the Day for the Monday, March 4 floor session.

“I do fully expect there would be bipartisan support for this bill in the House,” said House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring.

“Rep. Jeff Witte, R-Lakeville, has been an incredible leader on this issue as a former SRO himself, and a 27-year veteran of the Burnsville Police Department,” Demuth said.

While the Senate version of the bill is still making its way through the committee process, Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson said his caucus remains committed to ensuring the final version of the bill satisfies the concerns law enforcement leaders from around the state expressed in recent months over fixing language of a new statute that led dozens of police departments to pull their SROs from schools across the state.

“I know some of the law enforcement community is supporting some of it.” Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said. “There’s still questions about other parts of it, so we will wait until we get a consensus from the law enforcement community and education community and from our members before we start looking into that as far as a bipartisan bill.”

“But right now we’ve got people working on that and hopefully that’s the way it ends up.”

Sen. Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said her caucus is behind the bill.

“It’s a very strong bill that has been the work of months of members of both bodies, law enforcement, cities, educators, people representing students,” Murphy said.


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.