Newly elected lawmaker vows to flout Minnesota COVID-19 rules

He wrote to Gov. Tim Walz, inviting him to a backyard gathering ahead of Thanksgiving.
Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 9.54.21 AM

The new representative-elect for Shakopee has vowed to flout the new COVID-19 rules introduced by Gov. Tim Walz last week by holding a gathering at his home ahead of Thanksgiving.

Representative-elect Erik Mortenson, the GOPer who narrowly beat DFL-incumbent Brad Tabke in House District 55A, has posted several times about the new restrictions imposed by Gov. Walz last week, which includes a four-week ban on socializing with anybody outside of your own household, whether indoors or outdoors.

On Thursday, he wrote a letter to the governor and Attorney General Keith Ellison, inviting them to a "gathering at my home" on Wednesday, Nov. 25, saying it will be a "responsible and peaceful assembly in my backyard with a handful of constituents that live outside of my residence," and will involve lawn games.

He argues that the Constitution "supersedes" the governor's executive order, and adds: "Our rights originate from God and are guaranteed to us upon birth," and claims Walz's shutdown orders – which are aimed at limiting the spread of the virus and keeping hospitals operational – have "decimated the lives of so many Minnesotans."

In a Facebook video, Mortensen has said attendees have been given instructions such as "be safe," stay away if they're feeling unwell, wear a mask "if they'd like," and "they can social distance." 

"Essentially I've told them, go ahead and be grown ups, just like I wish our governor was doing," he said.

Walz has said that the ban on social gatherings are largely unenforceable, even though the order does carry a $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail for those who "willfully violate" it.

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

But he hopes that more people will stick to the order at a time when Minnesota's COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,241 on Sunday, with the state's hospital's system currently at breaking point. The Star Tribune noted Monday that available ICU beds were down to the single digits in parts of Minnesota last week.

Deaths are expected to rise in the coming weeks due to the escalating case and hospitalization numbers, and many of those who survive trips to the hospital – and some of those who even don't need hospital stays – could experience health problems for months after they no longer require isolation.

While it's become increasingly difficult to identify the original source of an increasing number of Minnesotans infections with COVID-19 due to widespread community transmission, health experts believe social gatherings are a significant driver.

Both the Minnesota Department of Health and the federal CDC have advised people to avoid celebrating Thanksgiving with people outside their own household this year, such is the severity of the virus' spread in the U.S.

Mortsensen, meanwhile, tweeted this on Thursday.

District 55A is one of the seats picked up by the GOP on Nov. 3 that the DFL thinks was in no small part due to the involvement of Legal Marijuana Now candidates. 

LMN and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party attained major party status in 2018, and in this month's elections pro-legalization candidates ran in numerous swing districts, some with the encouragement of the GOP.

In 2018, Tabke beat Mortensen in 55A by 604 votes in a two candidate race. This time, Legal Marijuana Now candidate Ryan Martin got 1,706 votes – 7.4% of the total votes – and Mortensen beat Tabke by 560 votes.

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


What health officials know, don't know about Brazil P.1 variant

Minnesota health officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S.

christopher and banks

Christopher & Banks closing stores for good, laying off 361 people at Plymouth facility

The layoffs began earlier this month and will continue through March.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 8.56.43 AM

Tributes, donations after death of popular South High School teacher

The fundraiser had raised more than $9,000 of its $15,000 as of Tuesday.


social gathering

COVID-19: How will Minnesota's ban on social gatherings be enforced?

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced social gatherings of all kinds with people outside your household are prohibited for the next four weeks.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz: COVID-19 guidance for Christmas likely to be similar to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving featured a ban on social gatherings with non-household members.


Two staffers for Tom Emmer's campaign test positive for COVID-19

Emmer says he has not been exposed to the staffers for several weeks.

covid-19, coronavirus

Record 101 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota

The figures are from Wednesday, with no update provided on Thanksgiving.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz: Minnesota at a 'critical point' in COVID-19 fight

Gov. Walz is imploring people to go and get tested for the virus.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says Minnesota will report 56 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday

When confirmed, it will be the highest single-day death count so far.