Governor Walz Extends Peacetime Emergency Powers for Another 30 Days
ST. PAUL, Minn.– Earlier today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced an extension of his emergency powers that he has held since the beginning of the pandemic in March. This comes as lawmakers are in St. Paul for a third special legislative session.
The governor is extending his emergency powers through September 11, streamlining the handling of the pandemic through the executive branch of the state.
“When this started, there was no precedence and it’s very much a gray area,” said Walz.
Action has allowed the state to get more resources to gather PPE, put certain waivers on direct care and treatment, calling in the Minnesota National Guard for mass testing, taking the lead on reopening efforts, and the state’s mask mandate.
The move is facing pushback from republican lawmakers, who believe the governor should hand his emergency authority back to the state legislature. But Walz says he’s not alone in holding his added authority.
“What I would say to them is all 50 states are in this emergency, President Trump exercised his emergency powers and the authority last week. And whether you agree with those decisions or not, there were very few disagreeing that we were still in the pandemic.”
Walz says the state could lose over 50 million dollars each month in federal funding if he gives up his emergency powers.
He added that if state lawmakers are concerned he has too much power in the executive branch as he handles this pandemic, the legislature should step up and do more.
“Every time I ask, ‘What would you do differently?’ there’s really not a response. There’s not a response when I said, ‘How about these 20 executive orders? Why don’t you take them and codify them if they’re there,’ and that didn’t happen,” said Walz.
The legislature can end Walz’s emergency powers if both the state house and senate lawmakers vote to stop them. The senate voted to remove them earlier today, pushing it to the house where it has been unsuccessful previously.