MN legislature clashes over governor's emergency power |

MN legislature clashes over governor's emergency power

Rachel Mills
Updated: June 15, 2021 06:39 PM
Created: June 15, 2021 05:23 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's emergency powers will last at least another 30 days. And not everyone agrees with the decision this week to renew the state's peacetime emergency.

Minnesota's peacetime emergency has lasted over 13 months, and there are deep divisions within the state legislature over the scope of the governor's power.

"It's an unconstitutional abuse of power. Clearly. He does not have the right to do what he's been doing for over 400 days. The people have been left without their voices being heard," Rep. Greg Davids (R- Preston) said. 

The Executive Council votes on extending the peacetime emergency. That council is made up of five state officials - all democrats including the governor himself. 

In a request to the council, Walz said the renewal is simply "re-upping the state of emergency so that the status quo of the work we're doing continues."

Rep. Davids said Walz's emergency powers have lasted far too long. 

"He has effectively eliminated the legislature, one of the branches of government, and you cant do that. He does not need his emergency powers. He maybe needed them two weeks," Rep. Davids said. 

But Rep. Liz Bolden (DFL - Rochester) embraces the governor's emergency powers.

"I will say that I'm in support of them for right now and I would note that the federal government and 42 other states are still in that peacetime emergency state," Rep. Boldon said.  

Boldon said the peacetime emergency is still happening because the pandemic is not over yet.

"We would all like Covid to be over and wash our hands of it. We are definitely moving in the right direction, but it's not over. And the peacetime emergency gives us more tools in the toolbox to support Minnesotans," Rep. Boldon said.  

With his emergency powers, Gov. Walz has activated the national guard, set up testing and vaccination programs and implemented masking restrictions among other changes.

Rep. Boldon said even though he still has these powers, things are winding down.

"In the last month, there have been nine executive orders that have been rescinded. The mask mandate was one of those," Rep. Boldon said. 

With the extension of the peacetime emergency, the eviction moratorium was also extended. Gov. Walz said extending the peacetime emergency gives the state time to avoid overwhelming the courts once that moratorium expires.

Just this week, Minnesota legislative leaders have agreed to a plan. They call it a "15-week off-ramp" for ending that eviction moratorium.

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