Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter to lawmakers Thursday laying out some conditions that would lead to a wind down of the peacetime emergency declaration under which he’s been governing for roughly 10 months.
Walz’s use of emergency powers — which he’s used at various times to close schools, restaurants and bars, and to cancel large events — has angered Republican lawmakers, who say they should have some say in pandemic policy while accusing the first-term DFL governor of overreach.
Walz loosened some COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday, including on bars and restaurants, gyms, events and family gatherings.
Walz indicates that with vaccine distribution underway and a “light at the end of the tunnel,” he is seeking to relinquish emergency powers. But not without codification in law of some provisions the government has used to protect Minnesotans, in public and at work, including:
• Increased protections for workers from unsafe working conditions and retaliation from raising concerns about workplace safety.
• Expansion of unemployment insurance.
• Mask mandate.
• Regulations governing school openings.
• Continuation of the evictions moratorium with a specific timeline for its end.
• Protections for Minnesotans against price gouging.