Senate Republicans seek to divide Minnesota with law enforcement operations bill

Senate File 1354 passed on the Senate floor today with a vote of 35 to 32. The bill was a Senate Republican response to a proposal from Minnesota Governor Walz to provide state aid to local governments when a public safety event occurs and mutual aid resources have been exhausted. Discussions about this proposal have been ongoing among the legislative caucuses. Senate Republicans provided 12 hours of notice that a version of the proposal, that did not have agreement, would see action on the Senate floor. After voting no on SF 1354, Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent released the following statement:

“The Senate DFL remains committed to ensuring that Minnesotans have the right to peacefully protest and to keeping Minnesotans safe. We also remain committed to seeing the promise of justice and equal treatment under the law fulfilled for all Minnesotans – no matter your race, zip code or economic status,” said Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury). “But that is not the conversation that Senate Republicans brought to the floor today. The bill today is not focused on public safety or a more just future – it aims to penalize the people of Minneapolis and continues to attack Governor Walz and his work to bring Minnesotans together.”

“The SAFE Account proposed by the Governor is not just about Minneapolis – it is an important resource for all Minnesota communities. As Minnesotans, we have a long history of coming together to help those in need. Unfortunately, the bill the Senate Republicans put forward is intended to divide us. Senate File 1354 includes a provision that would prohibit the state’s disaster account from being used to support communities that have been subject to civil unrest. It would be retroactive to January 1, 2020, meaning that payments already approved in the aftermath of last summer’s unrest would not be released, further burdening communities that are already struggling with the budget challenges of a pandemic. It shouldn’t matter if an incident occurs in Minneapolis or Moorhead, St. Paul or Sleepy Eye. Neighboring communities have always stepped up to answer the call in a time of need. As a legislature, we should follow their example and support our first responders throughout the state with a bill that encourages mutual assistance. Not this harmful measure that will divide us.”

Senator Susan Kent
Susan Kent represents District 53 in the eastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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