MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  Minnesota House GOP lawmakers are questioning Attorney General Keith Ellison in a letter released Sunday after reports that the AG office has threatened to fine business owners who have announced plans to reopen prior to June 1.

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According to lawmakers, a number of rural business owners have stated they can no longer wait for Gov. Walz to allow them to return to work and have decided to reopen with safety precautions in place. Due to this, some businesses say they have been threatened with a fine by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office if they follow through with their plan.

“By picking winners and losers, the governor is forcing many Main Street business owners into bankruptcy,” said State Representative Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls). “It’s truly a shame that these folks are now receiving threats from the Attorney General’s Office when all they want to do is safely serve their neighbors, earn a living, and keep their community afloat.”

In a letter penned to Ellison, lawmakers ask if his office is indeed threatening non-essential business owners with fines if they reopen prior to June 1. According to lawmakers, a potential fine could cost up to $25,000.

“Our hope is that the Attorney General will work with businesses, not against them,” said State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).

The lawmakers also noted that a number of Minnesota’s rural counties have reported 10 COVID-19 cases or less since the pandemic began.

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