ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate passed legislation Monday that would hold cities accountable to pay their mutual aid agreements and prevent Gov. Tim Walz from diverting funds away from education and healthcare to cover cities’ public safety costs that defund the police.
“Cities are given Local Government Aid to fund necessary functions of their government, which includes public safety,” District 22 Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne) explained. “While the state has a responsibility to protect the public’s safety, it is not every Minnesotan’s responsibility to pay for it when that community is actively undermining its own safeguards.
“The solution proposed in this bill is fair,” Weber continued. “It encourages law enforcement to be fully funded by cities and ensures that when neighboring communities answer the call that they are going to be reimbursed for their support. The bill allows cities that provided mutual aid but haven’t been reimbursed for it yet to apply to have their Local Government Aid adjusted to match the amount owed. The funds would be provided by lowering the LGA from the city that owes the mutual aid payment.”
The bill’s passage came while House Democrats failed to pass their own version of the legislation on the same day.
“This legislation was spurred on by an active effort from Minneapolis’s city council to undermine its own public safety needs as well as the city’s unmet reimbursement obligations to neighboring communities,” Weber said. “Rather than accuse Senate Republicans of defunding the police, the governor should reflect on his own party’s actions, which have driven police out of the cities and have positioned Minneapolis poorly should there be further unrest.”