MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A proposal from Minnesota Senate Republicans would require Minneapolis to pay back cities for additional police help for the trials of the ex-officers charged with George Floyd’s death—and failure to reimburse those costs would cut into the city’s share of funding from the state.

Under the legislation, cities could submit to the state any bills left unpaid for their added security support. If determined money owed was not reimbursed, then the state would divert money from the city’s share of the local government aid program — funding from the state that primarily covers essential services like police — to cover the costs.

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“Too many communities did not get paid when they came to Minneapolis’ aid throughout the summer,” said Sen. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, during a news conference Thursday. “Minneapolis needs to make sure they take care of their bills.”

A spokeswoman for Gazelka said Minneapolis has still not reimbursed $137,000 to local governments in mutual aid agreements. In a series of tweets, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that the city was only aware of a “small” invoice of a “few thousand dollars.”

It’s is a counter-proposal to Gov. Tim Walz’s request for $35 million for a new State Aid and Emergencies, or “SAFE,” account that would reimburse local governments—including Minneapolis—for any added costs incurred during the event of an emergency and law enforcement personnel is dispatched from other parts of the state.

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Gazelka made clear the state is responsible for additional funding for state patrol and the Minnesota National Guard as necessary.

“We don’t believe we need to advance funds for [civil unrest] that may or may not happen,” Gazelka said.

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Walz during a Wednesday news conference said failure to approve the fund could “hamper” planning efforts for security surrounding the trials, as Derek Chauvin is set to begin his in just a few weeks on March 8.

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In a statement Thursday, his spokesman criticized the Republicans’ proposal.

“Messing around with local government aid to punish the City of Minneapolis is not a serious plan to prepare for a public safety challenge of this magnitude,” said Teddy Tschann, spokesman for Gov. Tim Walz. “The clock is ticking.”

This comes as Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradando told the Minneapolis City Council Thursday that his department has about 200 fewer sworn officers than it did two years ago with about 640 currently active.

Previously Gazelka and some of Republican colleagues signed onto a letter in December asking Walz to give “urgent consideration” to the $7.6 million request from the Minneapolis Police Department to “properly plan” for civil unrest, according the letter that the governor’s office released Thursday.

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The governor’s office described the move as a “flip-flop” on part of the GOP senators.

Caroline Cummings