ST. PAUL, MINN. (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz signed into law Tuesday a bill providing $7.8 million in emergency funding to cover the costs for extra law enforcement during Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in Minneapolis.

Ahead of the verdict, Walz sought help from other states under a federal mutual aid compact to prepare for any civil unrest and protect people’s right to protest. Ohio and Nebraska agreed to assist Minnesota for the unprecedented security event that tapped state and local officers and the National Guard.

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The bill passed Tuesday flags $1.5 million to cover out-of-state trooper expenses and another $6.3 million for Minnesota State Patrol. The Senate approved it in the morning and the House followed suit in the afternoon, moving the bill to the governor’s desk. Walz signed it Tuesday evening.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said that the numbers reflect the actual total costs, and that the governor sought the request.

Some DFL members proposed changes through an amendment that curtail law enforcement from using certain crowd control tactics during protests, but that effort failed.

 

(credit: Christopher Mark Juhn/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“There’s going to be a lot of potential conversations about public safety, police accountability and all of the issues that the House and Senate will work through,” Gazelka said. “This is simply answering a request from the governor and the [House] Speaker, and it’s simple. It’s clear.”

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Democrats further push for more action on policing

Gazelka, the top Republican in the GOP-controlled chamber, previously promised to hold “fact-finding” hearings on more police accountability proposals before he reversed course and said the issues would be handled during conference committee, where a few lawmakers from each chamber hash out an agreement.

In the House, controlled by the DFL, Democrats doubled down on their push for more police reforms before approving the $7.8 million funding for law enforcement. The chamber has already approved its public safety budget that includes several proposals targeting police accountability.

In a letter Tuesday, members of the People of Color Indigenous Caucus — known as the POCI — sent a letter to legislative leaders and the governor demanding an expedited judiciary and public safety conference committee so a proposal with policing policy changes can be voted on the floor by May 3. They also want such proposals to be kept out of negotiations on the budget, which needs to be approved before adjournment.

“We believe that this bill should be negotiated independently ahead of other bills, and not used as a bargaining chip in the final deals of the session as we have witnessed in the past,” the POCI caucus wrote. “There isn’t time left in session for delays or political games if we want this bill passed.”

Walz in a statement said he supported the POCI proposal.

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“I urge Republicans in the legislature to put politics aside to pass these much-needed reforms on their own, independent from unrelated bills,” he said.

Caroline Cummings