by Rose Williams
Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday a special session will take place Monday, Oct. 12, during which he intends to extend his peacetime emergency declaration for the seventh time.
In the governor’s Proclamation for Special Session, issued Oct. 7, Walz said an “extraordinary occasion” has ensued, and, therefore, “it is necessary to extend the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency.”
Because Walz intends to extend his powers for an additional 30 days, the Legislature has been called into session. Both the GOP-led Senate and DFL-led House will convene at the Capitol Monday at noon.
The Senate may again try to end Walz’s emergency declaration, but successfully stripping the governor of his powers would require the approval of both chambers.
Last special session, Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, said, “Walz is making all the coronavirus calls in a system where the executive, legislative and judicial branches are all part of government.”
“It’s causing a huge amount of frustration to see the governor making these types of executive orders that affect businesses and people’s lives where their elected officials have no voice in it,” Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, added.
Walz’s emergency powers were first granted March 13 and have since been extended six times. Under his emergency powers, Walz has been able to unilaterally close down churches, schools and businesses, and institute a mask mandate.
Walz said in a previous statement, “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this rapidly-evolving virus quickly and decisively in order to safeguard the health and well-being of each and every Minnesotan.”
His office has noted that the peacetime emergency powers are “consistent with the ongoing national emergency declared by the President and the emergencies declared in every state in the U.S.”
Senate Republicans have removed two of Walz’s cabinet members over the last two special sessions, presumably in retaliation for the governor’s continued use of emergency powers.
This special session will be the fifth of 2020, and the 13th since 2010.
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Rose Williams is a reporter for Alpha News.
Photo “Tim Walz” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.