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Walz to extend limited peacetime emergency powers, call for special session

The governor's extension will be put to a vote in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature.
Credit: KARE
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

ST PAUL, Minn. — The Office of Governor Tim Walz announced the governor is set to sign an executive order extending his emergency powers by 30 days as the effort to tame COVID-19 persists across Minnesota.

The executive action - albeit more limited than past iterations - aims to tackle maintaining Minnesota's state-run vaccination sites as well as the moratorium on housing evictions, while also maintaining the state's hunger-relief programs.

The governor announced he will also be calling for a special session of the Minnesota Legislature starting June 14 to address Minnesota's two-year state budget.

The governor is calling for legislators to seek common ground that enables the state to bolster economic growth, tackle police accountability in the wake of high profile police killings, and establish an "off-ramp" for the state's pandemic-era moratorium on evictions that "ensures stability in the housing market while supporting renters and landlords."

“Minnesota is in a good place in our effort to end this pandemic,” says Governor Walz. “That is why we have begun to wind down our statewide response. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that we can continue to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy, and pass a budget that supports Minnesota’s recovery.”

The governor says his extension of peacetime emergency powers is in line with his administration's attempt to slowly pare down Minnesota's response to COVID-19.

To date, around 65% of eligible Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and Minnesota's daily case numbers have consistently remained under 200 over the last five days. 

A release put out by the governor's office says the administration has rescinded nine executive orders in the month of May, and says an additional 13 will be rescinded by the end of June. 

The state says remaining executive authority allows the administration to provide a number of pandemic relief services such as vaccine distribution, and extending aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The office warns ending the state's emergency powers now would jeopardize nearly $90 million in SNAP benefits through Sept. 30, 2021.


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