(Learfield News Service/St. Paul, MN) Governor Tim Walz has called the legislature back to Saint Paul Friday for a special session to address police reform and economic recovery from COVID-19 and the Twin Cities riots. Walz extended his COVID emergency authority another 30 days — a move the legislature has the option to veto:
“I would caution against that, in that we are still in this,” he says. The Democrat-controlled Minnesota House will likely back the governor, meaning he would retain emergency powers. The governor argues, “If I wouldn’t extend the emergency executive order, it’s 50 million dollars in federal assistance for the month that goes away, and we would have tens of thousands of evictions start Saturday morning. There is no legislative fix being proposed to fix these things.”
Walz is also demanding quick action on police reforms, sparked by the death of George Floyd. “The time to debate and walk away is over. The time to debate, come up with solutions, implement them and continue to move forward is on us,” he says. Senate Republicans say police reforms must be carefully considered because they affect many generations to come.
The governor also wants a bonding bill for state public works projects and assistance to rebuild riot-torn sections of Minneapolis and Saint Paul — measures he argues will also help the state’s economy recover from COVID-19. But House Republicans say they won’t allow a bonding bill to pass unless Walz relinquishes his COVID emergency powers, which they say are hampering economic recovery.