Yet another resolution to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration was rejected Friday, but this time the proposal received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
The resolution passed the Republican-controlled Senate in a vote of 38-29, with three Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting to end the governor’s emergency powers, which first took effect March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
After the resolution passed the Senate, one of the governor’s vehicles was spotted at the Capitol shortly before the House put the resolution up for a vote.
“Tony Soprano tactics used on defectors I’ve been told,” Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) said on Twitter.
Tony Soprano tactics used on defectors I’ve been told. https://t.co/kXyarkoUZo
— Rep. Mary Franson (@RepMaryFranson) June 12, 2020
In a vote of 61-73, the resolution was blocked in the House, but two Democratic representatives voted in favor of ending the peacetime emergency.
“It’s time to end the executive orders and let business and life open back up,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said in a statement. “I supported the governor back in March getting prepared just in case something happens. But the ‘just in case’ didn’t happen. We all know the value of social distancing and I have faith the people of Minnesota will continue acting safe, even without the government telling us to.”
Once the resolution was defeated in the House, Gov. Walz signed an executive order extending his peacetime emergency powers for an additional 30 days.
“Minnesotans’ health and safety is our top priority, and the actions we took over the last three months have saved lives,” the governor said in a press release. “The peacetime emergency opens our toolbox, allowing us to take swift action as necessary to protect the health and well-being of our communities, businesses, and families. This pandemic is not over. We must continue to work together to put public health first.”
Under current law, the governor can extend a peacetime emergency indefinitely for 30 days at a time. State law only grants the Legislature the option to cancel an emergency declaration with a majority vote from both the House and Senate. Friday’s vote marked the fourth attempt by Republican lawmakers to end the peacetime emergency.
“We will continue to fight for the integrity of institutions, especially the Legislature that we were elected to represent. This is a dark chapter in Minnesota’s history, where a Governor can take power under one pretext and then change that pretext and expand his mandate,” said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). “He broke faith with the legislature and the people of Minnesota and he must be stopped and held accountable.”
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