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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Rep. Mekeland urges DFL support for school resources officer law fix

Monday, September 11, 2023


ST. PAUL – With 44 Democrat lawmakers declaring they do not support a fix to law that has left dozens of schools without school resources officers, state Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, is urging those Democrats who remain undecided to join Republicans in asking Gov. Tim Walz to call a special session and work together on a solution.

Mekeland said new state law changes what SROs are allowed to do to de-escalate aggressive or violent situations, taking away tools they can use to keep students and teachers safe. In response, over 40 law enforcement agencies have pulled SROs from schools across Minnesota.

“We need to have a tightly focused, single-subject special session as soon as possible to fix this problem,” Mekeland said. “Let’s recognize this serious public safety issue for what it is and spare the pet projects for another day. House Republicans are ready to work on common-sense language that allows SROs to use all the skills they have to de-escalate volatile situations before things get out of hand in the blink of an eye. The sooner we can address this issue – and only this issue – in a special session, the better.”

House and Senate Republicans have urged Walz to call a special session to clarify the SRO language that is now in law. In response, 44 Democrat lawmakers stated they do not support a special session, preferring to leave the law alone.

Mekeland said political games should not be played with student and teacher safety, and urged Democrats to do the right thing and join Republicans in addressing law enforcement’s concerns with the new law and brining SROs back to the schools that have lost them.

“We can’t let politics delay necessary action any longer,” Mekeland said. “Minnesotans can’t afford to abide by the anti-police radicals – especially when it comes to the safety of our children, teachers and staff in our schools. It’s time for Democrat legislators to get serious about working on bipartisan solutions that we can pass in a single-subject special session. With full Republican support on this effort, we only need a few Democrats to get on board with doing the right thing.”