ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Ramsey County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thirteen Republican legislators and a group of businesses contended the Democratic governor abused his power and interfered with the legislative process when he closed schools, issued a mask mandate and limited businesses’ operations.

District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan upheld the governor’s actions Tuesday. A group called Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition argued the governor is usurping the powers of the Legislature.

The Walz administration and DFL legislators have maintained that an emergency declaration is necessary to deal with the pandemic.

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