MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Proposed funding for bolstered security during the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd has once again failed to pass in the Minnesota House.
The House gathered for a vote Thursday afternoon at the urging of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition.
“We have previously stated our support of the Governor’s original proposal for the State Aid for Emergencies (SAFE) Account to provide funds to help keep communities and law enforcement officers safe in responding to civil unrest,” the coalition wrote in a letter to House leaders. “The Governor’s SAFE Account proposal is an opportunity to work together, and policing in the coming months will be harder without its passage.”
Gov. Tim Walz had proposed a $35 million SAFE account that would reimburse local governments, not just Minneapolis, for providing mutual aid for “unplanned or extraordinary public safety events.” They would include, but not be limited to, the trial of Derek Chauvin, which is expected to draw worldwide attention when it begins March 8, and the trial in August of three other ex-officers charged in the case.
An amended SAFE bill failed by a 63-71 vote Thursday. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, of Golden Valley, moved to table the bill.
Democrats join Republicans to vote down the governor’s bill that would create a $35 million fund designed to help w/ security for Chauvin trial. https://t.co/xARKZNlZzW
— Caroline Cummings (@CaroRCummings) February 19, 2021
Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement Thursday night, “I asked the Legislature to help me keep Minnesotans safe. I will continue to work with law enforcement and community members to keep Minnesotans safe, but there’s no doubt this disappointing vote will make our work more challenging.”
The House DFL released the following statement after the bill failed:
“House DFLers remain committed to providing public safety for all Minnesotans, no matter where we live or what we look like, and we will continue to partner with both community members and law enforcement to protect our communities and to build on the bipartisan police accountability reforms we enacted last year,” said Speaker Hortman. “We are grateful for the public service of law enforcement professionals who help preserve peace and safety for Minnesotans while respecting their constitutional and human rights.”
“In just a few weeks, Minnesota will again reckon with the injustice of a Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd.” said Majority Leader Winkler. “Our top priority must be to ensure the safety and security of human lives, permit public demonstration, and protect a generation of investment by diverse small business owners. The best way to do that is to be prepared.”
“All Minnesotans deserve to be safe in their communities while having the ability to exercise their first amendment rights. We’ve worked hard to develop legislation that recognizes each of these values, investing in the response to actions that harm people or property, while including reasonable accountability measures to build trust within our communities,” Rep. Mariani said. “The trial of former officer Derek Chauvin is just days away, and we will continue working on a solution to deliver the necessary resources in preparation for this major event.”
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt released a statement of his own:
“Instead of building consensus, Democrats chose to force a vote on a bill with unrelated policy demands that even their own caucus did not support. House Republicans have offered a truly bipartisan path forward that would provide the funding law enforcement needs to prevent a repeat of last summer’s riots, and leaves the controversial issues aside.
“We hope the majority will reconsider their approach, and work with us to strike a compromise bill that can pass the House.”
The bill previously stalled out in the Democratic-controlled House on Monday when leaders pulled it, acknowledging that they lacked enough votes to pass it.
Also Monday, the Senate voted 35-32 to pass a very different proposal that would allow the state to garnish money that Minneapolis gets from the state’s Local Government Aid program to ensure that other law enforcement agencies are reimbursed for their costs of contributing officers for what’s expected to be a massive security effort.
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