A bill that would create the State Aid for Emergencies account and fund it with $35 million is headed to the House Floor.
Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul), the measure, which has no Senate companion, would create a state contingency fund to reimburse local communities for public safety overtime and staffing costs provided through mutual aid after significant “critical incidents” occur.
Mariani said the impetus for the bill was the substantial costs in overtime, supplies, food, and lodging for officers from other law enforcement agencies who answered the call to help Minneapolis police quell the civil unrest after last year’s death of George Floyd in police custody.
Local governments asking for extra law enforcement assistance would be eligible to get 75% of their expenses reimbursed; agencies responding to a request for mutual aid would be eligible for 100% reimbursement.
There’s an urgency to get the SAFE account established, Mariani said, because more civil unrest is expected when the trial for the first of the four ex-Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death is scheduled to begin in March.
It would have prevented state police agencies – the State Patrol and DNR conservation officers – from being eligible for reimbursement from the SAFE account if they responded to a mutual aid request.
Johnson said he didn’t want to “incentivize” the city of Minneapolis to rely on state resources for policing duties, and instead take steps to increase the size of its police force, which is down more than 200 officers since the Floyd killing.