Lawmakers are returning to St. Paul Friday for the fourth special session of the year, which will allow Gov. Tim Walz to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
The governor said in a press release issued Wednesday night that he “intends to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days.” Friday will mark the sixth extension of his peacetime emergency, which first went into effect on March 13.
“While Minnesota has taken life-saving action, the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said in a statement. “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this rapidly-evolving virus quickly and decisively in order to safeguard the health and well-being of each and every Minnesotan.”
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan claimed “this pandemic is not over,” and warned that the “next stages of this virus will continue to present a challenge.”
Walz’s office defended the governor’s actions by noting that his peacetime emergency is “consistent with the ongoing national emergency declared by the President and the emergencies declared in every state in the U.S.”
“Day 180 of emergency powers. Right now, one person has total control of Minnesota government,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Image if Democrats, who had planned a fundraiser for John Thompson, even after he threatened to burn down the city of Hugo, and the extreme left, have total control of government in January.”
Day 180 of emergency powers. Right now, 1 person has total control of MN government. Imagine if Democrats, who had planned a fundraiser for John Thompson, even after he threatened to burn down the city of Hugo, and the extreme left, have total control of government in January.
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) September 8, 2020
The governor doesn’t need approval from lawmakers to extend an emergency, but the Legislature can vote to cancel an emergency declaration. Gazelka and his fellow Republicans used their confirmation powers to oust a member of Walz’s cabinet during August’s special session, a tactic they could employ again on Friday.