Cost of Minnesota's response to civil unrest in wake of George Floyd's death grows

A fire breaks out at a building amid protests in response to the death of George Floyd. (Tom Lyden / FOX 9)

Minnesota lawmakers are advancing $4.6 million to reimburse the State Patrol and Minnesota Department of Transportation for responding to the civil unrest in late May and early June.

The House Ways and Means committee voted 25-1 on a supplemental spending bill that includes the reimbursement payments Tuesday morning. Under the proposal, the State Patrol would get nearly $3.8 million and MnDOT would get $865,000.

That's on top of $13 million in expenses that the Minnesota National Guard requested last month. At the time, budget officials expected to get reimbursed by the federal government for the Guard's costs, but do not expect federal reimbursement for the State Patrol and MnDOT expenses.

FEMA denied Minnesota's request for a disaster declaration and the federal agency typically doesn't reimburse law enforcement expenses, said Chris Kelly, a spokesman for Minnesota's state budget office.

The National Guard and State Patrol quelled violence in the Minneapolis and St. Paul streets after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed when a now-fired Minneapolis police officer held him to the ground by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.

The State Patrol is seeking state reimbursement to cover troopers' salaries, equipment, meals and lodging during the unrest, Kelly said. MnDOT's costs were for trucks, trailers and other equipment, plus salaries.

The proposal is part of a $58 million supplemental budget bill that heads to the House floor. No one voiced opposition to the reimbursements Tuesday, though House Republicans did have concerns about other elements of the spending package.

Tuesday's proposal also includes $750,000 for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights' ongoing investigation of potential civil rights violations at the Minneapolis Police Department.