This week, House and Senate Republican leadership gave a press conference about the deal struck between House Speaker Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, and Governor Walz, and the path forward for dealing with the Governor's emergency powers.
My colleague Representative Barb Haley, along with Senator Jeff Howe, brought a bill to the governor proposing a ramp down to the emergency powers, where the Governor would remain in control of vaccination efforts and manage federal emergency money for food programs and other necessities, which were the things he referenced when asked why he still needed emergency powers. The Governor immediately shut down the effort, saying the bill was "not a real offer", even though they came to him to work together and addressed his stated concerns about ending emergency powers.
Senator Howe, a veteran of both the Navy and the Army National Guard, served two tours in Iraq and commanded hundreds of troops. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel after decades in the military, and yet he said during the press conference that in his meeting with the Governor about this bill, "in my 38 years in the military, in my 27 years in the fire service, in my 9 years in the Legislature, I have never been treated in such a condescending manner".
Senator Howe is known around the Capitol as a legislator who is willing to compromise and work together in a bipartisan manner to get good work done, and yet Governor Walz shut down his and Rep. Haley's efforts without even considering their arguments or giving them things he'd like changed in the bill.
As we draw closer to the June special session, I will continue to push for an end to the emergency powers to be included in our final deal. It is time for the Governor's unilateral authority to end.
Please Contact Me
As always, if you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government or have concerns or ideas about legislation, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 357 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.