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Gov. Walz calls for a third special session, seeks to extend emergency powers

The governor first declared a COVID-19 peacetime emergency in March.

Gov. Tim Walz is calling for the Minnesota Legislature to return to the state Capitol for its third special session of the summer.

The governor issued a proclamation for this special session on Friday afternoon, calling for it to begin at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 12, in order to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency for another 30 days.

Walz first declared a peacetime emergency on March 13, which is allowed under the Minnesota Constitution. However, state law says if a governor determines the emergency needs to be extended beyond 30 days and the Legislature isn't in session, the governor must immediately convent the House and Senate. 

Walz notes in his proclamation for a special session that it is necessary to extend the peacetime emergency because "the pandemic continues to threaten Minnesotans and burden the state's resources."

It's unclear if the Legislature will work on passing any bills – it still hasn't passed a bonding bill.  

According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, this will be the fourth time in which a governor has called a third special session. The others were called in 1997, 1982, 1981, 

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned its regular session May 17, but because it failed to pass a bonding bill a special session was expected. By the time the governor called the special session, which began June 12, the goals for the special session had changed to include police reform legislation in the wake of the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. 

That special session lasted about a week, with the Republican-controlled Senate adjourning before the Legislature passed any police reform measures because the House and Senate couldn't agree. The Legislature also failed to pass a bonding bill. Gov. Walz's peacetime emergency powers were not revoked. 

Then, in July, Walz called a second special session in hopes of passing a bonding bill and police reform, during which some police reform legislation was passed and then signed into law. Gov. Walz's peacetime emergency powers were not revoked. 

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