Republicans in the state legislature are asking the governor to set aside his emergency powers — and vowing to block a key piece of legislation until he does.
On Saturday, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) issued a statement telling Gov. Tim Walz (D) that it's time to start working with lawmakers on the state's COVID-19 decision-making:
House Republicans are ready and willing to work with the governor on the COVID response, keeping people safe, and on a bonding bill, but it's time for the governor to work with the legislature on our path forward. The governor needed his emergency powers to navigate the fast-moving crisis, but after two months of unilateral power and decision-making it's time for him to work with us on decisions and actions regarding the future of the state.
Daudt says the legislature will "will not pass a bonding bill" until the governor's emergency powers end. He also points out that the measure would need a three-fifths majority to pass — a reminder that Republican support is needed for the important capital investment bill.
Walz gets those powers — which are aimed at helping the governor make quick decisions in statewide or national crises — from the Peacetime Emergency he declared in March.
Since his declaration, Walz has issued a number of executive orders in response to the pandemic and its economic impacts. His most recent one, signed Friday, allows food trucks to operate at highway rest stops.
As for the bonding bill, it's a priority on both sides of the aisle, with the Star Tribune noting that this year's version would "quickly create jobs through public construction projects" if passed.
A Walz spokesperson issued the following response to Daudt, per KARE 11 reporter Chris Rapsky:
BringMeTheNews has reached out to Walz's office for further comment.