The Minnesota Senate on Monday voted 48-19 to approve $9 million in emergency funding to pay for out-of-state law enforcement assistance Gov. Tim Walz sought over the weekend.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said Walz asked legislative leaders to quickly approve the funding, adding that all four caucus leaders agreed to the request.
Walz on Sunday confirmed that he had requested assistance from other states as large protests and demonstrations continued in Brooklyn Center as the murder trial of Derek Chauvin nears its conclusion. Police and protestors have clashed over several nights at the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
“As we think about some of the events that have been happening, we have to come together,” Gazelka said. “Part of that, frankly, is supporting the police and the National Guard and the work they are doing to keep our streets safe.”
The Senate voted to suspend the rules to allow a vote on the last-minute bill, which passed despite objections Twin Cities-area Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers.
Walz in a statement said he had requested the out-of-state help through the federal Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
“As the world awaits a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, we need support in our efforts to preserve the First Amendment right of peaceful protests while protecting public safety,” said Walz said in a statement. “I am grateful to our colleagues in Ohio and Nebraska for their willingness to provide assistance and relief to our State troopers and law enforcement officers as they continue to work to keep the peace in our communities.”
The Senate bill now moves to the House.
In a statement, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said she intends to bring the measure to a floor vote.
“We know that some individuals took advantage of the civil unrest last year to engage in criminal activities that destroyed livelihoods and neighborhood resources, and we need sufficient law enforcement personnel to respond if individuals again seek to take advantage of any civil unrest to commit criminal acts,” she said. “At the same time, I remain concerned that individuals must have the opportunity to exercise their first amendment rights to peacefully protest and to provide media coverage of public events.”
Some House DFL members are already expressing misgivings about the emergency funding, with at least one Minneapolis state representative, Aisha Gomez, saying she would vote no.