MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called again Wednesday for a special legislative session to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency for 30 days.
The governor first declared a peacetime state of emergency due the pandemic in March, which is within his power under state law. However, when the state legislature isn’t in session, he is required to call a special session every 30 days so that lawmakers can vote on whether or not to end the state of emergency. The latest special session is slated to begin Friday.
“While Minnesota has taken life-saving action, the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said in a statement. “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this rapidly-evolving virus quickly and decisively in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of each and every Minnesotan.”
In the previous three special sessions, Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate have tried to end the state of emergency.
The governor says that state of emergency allows his administration to respond rapidly to the fast-changing situation of the pandemic, which is now entering a new phase as students head back to school.
“COVID-19 is unpredictable, and there is still so much that we do not know,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, in a statement. “This pandemic is not over. With the fall and winter months fast approaching, we know the next stages of this virus will continue to present a challenge, especially to underserved communities. We must be prepared to respond quickly and efficiently in order to keep all Minnesotans healthy, safe, and informed.”
So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected 82,000 people in Minnesota and killed 1,869.
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