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Senate votes to end, House votes to continue governor's peacetime emergency

The Minnesota Senate. Photo: AP/Steve Karnowski. The Minnesota Senate.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: June 12, 2020 08:07 PM
Created: June 12, 2020 03:37 PM

The Minnesota Senate voted Friday to end Gov. Tim Walz's peacetime emergency powers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s time to end the executive orders and let business and life open back up,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “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.” 

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“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen the majority of COVID-related deaths in long term care, but the focus from the Governor’s Office was on restricting all residents and shutting down our businesses,” said Sen. Andrew Mathews (R- Milaca). “Our neighbors in Wisconsin completely re-opened weeks ago and continue to have lower rates and cases than we do. Continuance of his emergency powers is an insult to the people of Minnesota.” 

Earlier Friday, Walz announced the extension of his COVID-19 peacetime emergency. A news release from the governor's office stated ending the peacetime emergency could jeopardize over $50 million each month in federal funding. 

“Minnesotans have stepped up, we have learned how to social distance, we have proven that we care for one another,” said Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester). “But the time has come for the peacetime emergency to end.” 

The vote to end peacetime emergency was 38-29, with three Democrats joining all 35 Republicans supporting the resolution. 

Later in the day the House voted 73-61 against stripping Gov. Walz of his peacetime emergency powers. The result of the vote is that the Governor will keep his powers for at least another 30 days.


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