Gov. Walz convenes special session to extend emergency powers

The Minnesota Legislature will convene for its fourth special session on Sept. 11.
Author:
Publish date:
Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday he will convene the Minnesota Legislature for a special session on Sept. 11 in order to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 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 convene the House and Senate so they can vote to end his powers if they desire. 

“While Minnesota has taken life-saving action, the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Gov. 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 wellbeing of each and every Minnesotan.”

The governor says extending the peacetime emergency by another 30 days is crucial to ensure the state can continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These peacetime emergencies allow the state to respond without going through the Legislature and give Minnesota access to federal emergency funding.

“COVID-19 is unpredictable, and there is still so much that we do not know,”  Lt. Gov. Flanagan said in a statement. “This pandemic is not over. With the fall and winter months fast approaching, we know the next stages of this virus will continue to present a challenge, especially to underserved communities. We must be prepared to respond quickly and efficiently in order to keep all Minnesotans healthy, safe, and informed.”

Walz has come increasingly under criticism from Minnesota Republicans for not bringing the emergency to an end, with the GOP-controlled Senate voting to end his emergency powers during the previous three special sessions, but every time it has been blocked by the DFL-controlled House.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka among those leading the calls for Walz's powers to end. He said at the very least he wants Walz to set benchmarks that the state would have to meet in order to end the emergency.

Gazelka also criticized the fact that many school districts are reopening either with distance learning or a hybrid version of distance and in-person instruction, though the Walz Administration ultimately left the decision on how to reopen up to school districts, which Republicans had been calling for throughout the summer, albeit with their decisions based on state COVID-19 data.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Positive cases have been trending upwards in Minnesota over the past six weeks despite the introduction of a statewide mask mandate, however Minnesota has not seen the huge spikes in cases seen in neighboring states – namely Iowa and the Dakotas – that don't have mask mandates, and have few to zero capacity restrictions on businesses or large gatherings.

Deaths from COVID-19 have also been on the rise again in Minnesota, albeit are still significantly lower than the highs seen during May and early June.

The governor's office says the Minnesota's peacetime emergency is consistent with the ongoing national emergency that President Donald Trump declared and the emergencies that have been declared in every other state, which allow governors and officials to respond to the evolving threats related to the pandemic.

According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, this is the first time in state history that a governor has called four special sessions.

Next Up

PD Shimmers closeup

Man with Parkinson's lights up Plymouth with synchronized light show

"The best medicine I have for my disease is what I try to do with the light show," Mike Justak said.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

flickr-mall-of-america-mitchell-hirsch-march-2019

When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.

Minnesota_Welcome_Sign_-_Minnesota_Welcomes_You_-_Taylors_Falls_(28269804891)

Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.

Texa-Tonka

Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Related

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz convenes special session, will extend emergency powers

The peacetime emergency will be extended for a sixth time.

tim walz

Gov. Walz convenes Special Session, will extend peacetime emergency

The emergency orders have been opposed by Republicans.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz extends COVID-19 peacetime emergency

It comes as the Minnesota Legislature starts its 3rd Special Session.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz's emergency powers extended following state House vote

He'll now retain his powers through July 13.

State Capitol.

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

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

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz extends Minnesota's COVID-19 peacetime emergency

The order is likely to be challenged in the GOP-controlled Senate.

blue-and-white-sorry-we-re-closed-wooden-signage-1171386

COVID-19: Here's what Gov. Walz, Republicans are proposing to help businesses

Once they come to an agreement, Walz will call a special session to pass the legislation.

gazelka paul

Another Walz-appointed commissioner forced out by Senate GOP

The move came as the legislature began its fourth special session.