On Thursday the Minnesota Senate again voted to end Governor Walz’s emergency powers. For the last year, Minnesotans have been left to rely on announcements from the Governor’s office, dictating whether their businesses can open, whether their kids can return to school, and whether they can visit with family members without violating executive orders. Current law requires a majority vote from both the House and the Senate to repeal an Emergency Order.
“We are again voting to end the emergency powers because our legislature is ready to lead—we have been ready to work with the Governor to get Minnesotans back to some sense of normalcy in their daily lives,” said Senator Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake). “We shut down our state to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and we’ve done that. Over 70% of our seniors are vaccinated, and we’ve surpassed 2 million vaccines distributed. More importantly, we need to reestablish the balance of power within the state government. Legislators were elected to be the voice for the people at the Capitol, but our Governor has completely shut us out. Our government works best when the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch come together to solve issues, and we haven’t been able to do that for a year. We are equal partners in governing, and we should operate as such.”
In the wake of repeated votes to end emergency powers, Governor Walz sent the legislature a list of requests that must be met before ceding executive power, including a statewide mask mandate. 40 other states are currently reviewing laws on emergency powers. No timeframe on the release of emergency powers has been provided by the Governor.
This Session, the Minnesota Senate has passed multiple COVID-related relief bills. Bills passed with bipartisan support include legislation to safely reopen schools and businesses, and to achieve federal PPP tax conformity.