MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An inauguration event planned for outside the Minnesota State Capitol is getting pushback from some Republicans.
The state granted a group a permit to hold the ceremony next Tuesday.
Seven DFL senators are listed as part of the event and the permit says the event could have as many as 100 people gathering outside the Capitol.
Critics believe that’s a direct violation of the executive order issued by Gov. Tim Walz.
“There were no exceptions for Minnesota families for Christmas and Thanksgiving and back in May. And it all goes out the window when they want to have a celebration,” said Republican Senator Michelle Benson.
Benson is among those who believe the scheduled event contradicts what Walz and Democrats have been saying. Each of the seven lawmakers shown on the event page will be first-time DFL senators.
Senator-elect Erin Murphy sent out a tweet saying in order to comply with Minnesota’s Stay Safe Plan, they will join in ceremonies and livestream them for friends and constituents. Another DFL lawmaker said at no time in the planning have they anticipated having an audience of 100 people inside or outside.
“I think it would be prudent on their part to look at this from how Minnesotans might feel about people putting restrictions on them and not willing to live by restrictions themselves,” said Benson.
The new class of DFL Senators say their outdoor ceremonial swearing-in will be socially distanced and follow the Stay Safe guidelines.
The governor’s most recent executive order allows outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people and three households. But, the Department of Administration which granted the permit, refers to page nine of the executive order that allows outdoor events and entertainment of up to 100 participants. It lists racetracks, paintball, go-carts and festivals as some examples.
Benson says that in May, Republicans tried to have an outdoor ceremony for all Senators who were retiring or leaving.
“It was, to be kind, not well received,” she said.
Walz’s office had no comment on the planned event. But Benson questions the kind of example it sets.
“If you want to have an outdoor wedding reception with heaters, could you have 100 people? With families six feet apart? That would not be allowed,” she said.
The Department of Administration told WCCO it balances First Amendment rights with public health and safety.
The state says this particular permit application meets all rules and regulations.
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