Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

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Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

“We anticipate the governor will issue a proclamation on Friday, July 10, calling the Legislature into special session on Monday, July 13,” Hortman said.

Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration, first issued March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will expire on July 13. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session.

Lawmakers were called back to St. Paul in June for an eight-day special session that cost taxpayers an estimated $108,000.

The special session concluded on June 20 after Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation, the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds, and other leftover business from the regular session, such as a borrowing package for public infrastructure projects.

Walz then announced that he would use his executive authority to distribute the coronavirus relief money by himself.

One of the only things the special session did accomplish was the extension of Walz’s emergency powers.

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.

Republican lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to end Walz’s peacetime emergency on four occasions, though the most recent attempt received some bipartisan support.

At least 13 Republican legislators have joined a lawsuit against the governor for his use of emergency powers during the pandemic. A hearing for the lawsuit has been set for July 16. On that day, a Ramsey County District Court judge will determine if the lawsuit will proceed.

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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 “Minnesota Capitol” by Gabriel Vanslette. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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