Minnesota House Republicans introduced a resolution Monday that would end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration and restore power in responding to the pandemic to the State Legislature.
The resolution was introduced shortly after Walz announced that he has extended the state’s peacetime emergency for 30 days, which allows the governor to act unilaterally in adopting “necessary orders and rules.”
Walz first declared a 30-day peacetime emergency on March 13, meaning it would have expired Monday without an extension.
The resolution to end the peacetime emergency and all executive orders issued under the emergency was introduced by members of the New House Republican Caucus.
“The governor’s executive orders were well-intentioned and designed to protect public health. We commend him for that,” Rep. Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) (pictured above) said in a press release. “However, the long-term use of these executive orders, and the social isolation they create, has caused harmful unintended consequences. What was good policy many weeks ago has now created heavy burdens for many people. Minnesotans are entitled to weigh in on the governor’s actions.”
In order to bring the resolution before the full Minnesota House for a vote, its members first have to declare an “urgency” to take up the resolution. A declaration of urgency requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the House, and this vote will occur Tuesday at noon.
“We are asking all legislators to support this resolution and let the Legislature fulfill its constitutional role,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal). “A vote to block this resolution is a vote to silence the people’s house.”
As of Monday, Gov. Walz had issued 35 executive orders relating to the coronavirus pandemic in just one month.
“Businesses have shut down permanently, record numbers of people have filed for unemployment, and those trends will only worsen if we stay on the current path. I fear that the governor’s actions have created a severe recession,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). “The governor should not be allowed to steamroll the economy without the consent of the people.”
If passed, the resolution would allow elected members of the Minnesota Legislature to vote on what rules, orders, and policies should be put in place to respond to the pandemic.
Gov. Walz said his extension of the peacetime emergency will “allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and well-being and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.”
“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” he said in a statement. “The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us.”
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said his hope is that the governor will soon lay out his plan to reopen the economy.
“He clearly understands the emergency caused by COVID-19. We need to be assured he also understands the economic emergency caused by his response,” he said.
Our hope is Governor Walz will soon lay out his plan to reopen schools, churches, businesses, and activities after May 4th. He clearly understands the emergency caused by COVID-19. We need to be assured he also understands the economic emergency caused by his response. #mnleg
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) April 13, 2020
Minnesota now has 1,650 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 361 hospitalizations, and 70 deaths, according to the Department of Health. The state has tested a total of 38,427 individuals for the virus.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rep Tim Miller” by Rep. Tim Miller and “Minnesota State House Floor” by the Minnesota State House of Representatives.