The DFL-led state House today voted (67-64) to support Governor Walz’s extended peacetime emergency powers to deal with the impact of COVID-19. Republican Representative Mary Franson of Alexandria said the governor is promoting fear and criticized Walz’s executive decisions, including his mask mandate. Franson said, “I don’t like to breathe my sweaty breath all day long I am actually coerced members and public to wear this mask on the House Floor today if I want to do the job of representing the people I was sent here to talk to and to represent.” But Democrat Jennifer Schultz of Duluth said it’s President Trump and his Republican followers who have been heightening fear and added “”the fear of other humans being stoked by our president and those that follow him could destroy our democracy.” Earlier, the GOP-led Senate voted to terminate Walz’s extended emergency powers (36-31). Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said fighting COVID needs to be a collaborative effort and “with emergency powers, the governor does it by himself without the legislative branch.” Democratic Senator Matt Klein from Mendota Heights countered that the federal response to coronavirus has been lacking and added “it has been an absolute catastrophe and hundreds of thousands will die as a result of failed leadership. Minnesotans rightly trust Governor Walz to manage this well and with good reason.” Today marks the 4th special session held by lawmakers to address the governor’s emergency powers this year.
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