Sen. Gazelka Challenges Gov. Walz on COVID Measures and Meetings: ‘There is No Longer an Emergency’


Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.

Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders.

Gazelka shared that the governor said in their meeting that he won’t pull back on any of his powers. The senator added that their current conflict stems from Walz’s continued extended orders.

“When we were equals, the Senate had a position where we could say ‘no’ to the governor, and he’d have to work with us to find compromise,” said Gazelka. “Under emergency powers, I have no say.”

Gazelka wrote a letter to Walz last Friday questioning the standards for upholding Minnesota’s state of emergency and the lack of criteria for ending it. Gazelka also cited the disparity between the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) projected COVID-related deaths and current numbers.

“Initial MDH modeling projected as many as 74,000 COVID-related deaths, which was later revised to 50,000. We are now past the 16-week projected peak and our actual death toll is 1,806, of which 1,331 (74%) are associated with long term care facilities.”

The senator predicted that established criteria would determine COVID to be a non-emergency.

“We have flattened the curve, no Minnesotan has been denied necessary medical treatment, and, thankfully, our hospitals have not needed to use their surge capacity. There is no longer an emergency.”

In a briefing update Thursday after meeting with Gazelka, Walz shared a different view of the state’s pandemic status. The governor said the state was in danger of a “tipping point” due to the sudden recent spike in cases. He did not address the impact of delayed testing results.

“We have never shied away from what the facts are about COVID.”

Walz said that although the numbers are better than state officials predicted earlier this spring, the winter will bring a worse version of the pandemic. Walz did not explore in-depth any of the counter data that Gazelka referenced in his letter.

The executive order is up for renewal next Friday. Walz didn’t confirm or deny his decision to extend the order.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Minnesota Sun and the Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Paul Gazelka” by Minnesota Senate Republicans. CC BY 2.0.







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