MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz will keep his COVID-19 emergency powers for another 30 days.

The governor extended Minnesota’s peacetime emergency Friday. Senate Republicans voted to block the extension during Friday’s special session — the fourth held since the regular legislative session ended in May — but House Democrats upheld it. This means the governor can continue to react to COVID-19 without waiting for approval from the legislature.

The governor said COVID-19 is still a threat and he needs the ability to respond quickly.

The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate used the special session to vote in favor of ousting Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley. During the previous special session, Senate Republicans also voted out Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink, in a move described by the the Democratic governor as “political payback.”

Walz first declared a peacetime state of emergency due to the pandemic in March. Since the legislature is not currently in session, Minnesota law requires that the governor call a special session to get approval for an emergency extension from lawakers.

During the last three special sessions, the Republican-controlled Senate has called for the end of the state of emergency, but the DFL-controlled House has voted to continue to give Walz emergency powers.

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