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A bill that would ease many of the restrictions placed on school resource officers last year sailed through the House on Monday after weeks of talks between legislators and law enforcement officials.

The bill passed 124-8 and now goes to the Senate.

The sweeping education bill Gov. Tim Walz signed into law last spring restricted how and when police officers stationed in public schools may restrain students, leading several agencies to suspend their programs. The new legislation would exempt police from the rules educators must follow to restrain students and establish a set of standards and trainings for police officers and sheriff's deputies stationed in schools.

Rep. Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, said the bill essentially codifies Attorney General Keith Ellison's interpretation of last year's law, which is that laws on how and when police officers may use force take precedence above anything else. It also explicitly bars campus officers from disciplining students for breaking school rules.

"There will be transparency," Frazier said. "There will be accountability, if necessary."

Republicans, while supportive of the legislation, criticized Democrats for passing the ban on student restraints in the first place. They also took issue with the fact that the original bill never went through a public safety committee in either chamber of the Legislature, instead working its way through education committees without input from law enforcement leaders.

"We are very, very glad this will provide more school safety by bringing our school resource officers back to the schools that choose to have them," said House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring.

About 40 agencies suspended their school resource officer programs in response to concerns over potential legal liabilities for their employees. A handful of police departments and sheriff's offices reinstated their on-campus presence after a pair of memos from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. Many never removed their officers.

In a joint letter, the executive directors of three organizations that represent Minnesota law enforcement officials told lawmakers they support the legislation. Executive directors for the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Minnesota Sheriffs Association said they "feel a sense of urgency to resolve this issue" and doing so would allow dozens of agencies to restore their school resource officer programs.

But they also criticized legislators for not inviting law enforcement officials to testify or otherwise seeking their input on last year's bill.

"We respectfully request that if there is future legislation that impacts the roles and duties of police officers in any meaningful way that we have an opportunity to provide feedback prior to enacting new laws," the law enforcement officials wrote. "We feel strongly that the suspension of SROs programs across the state could have been avoided if we would have had the opportunity to engage with this issue in the same manner that has occurred over the past few weeks."

A coalition of educators and advocates who support the bill's training provisions oppose the legislation's provisions allowing officers to place students in the prone position, even in narrow circumstances.

"That is still our primary issue with the bill," said Erin Sandsmark, program manager for Solutions Not Suspensions.

Lawmakers made only minor changes to the bill after it was introduced. Some amendments pushed back training deadlines and relaxed language that would have required a dress code for police officers and sheriff deputies on school campuses.

Frazier expects the bill to work its way through the Senate and that the Legislature will send it to Walz as a standalone piece of legislation. The original ban on student restraints was rolled into an expansive education package.

"There is urgency around this," Frazier said.