MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As COVID-19 cases wane in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency powers have been extended for yet another moth.
The Minnesota Executive Council voted Monday to extend the peacetime emergency another 30 days.
“It’s very clear now we are in the final phases,” Walz said in a request to the council. “Today is simply re-upping the state of emergency so that the status quo, the work we’re doing continues.”
As required by law, the governor has requested an extension to the state of emergency every month since March of 2020, when the pandemic began.
Over the last year, Republicans have called for an end to the ongoing use of emergency powers. However, the governor says they allow the state to better respond to the pandemic as the situation changes.
The latest extension of the state of emergency comes as nearly 67% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and the state’s mask mandate has been lifted.
Over the last several weeks, the rates of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped to some of the lowest levels seen since the start of the pandemic.
Still, the state is working to have 70% of Minnesotans vaccinated by July 1. Vaccination rates have slowed significantly in the last two weeks.
Also on Monday, lawmakers are set to meet for a special session to hash out a $53 billion budget and resolve policy disputes so as to avoid a government shutdown this summer.
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