Gov. Tim Walz has outlined a plan to end his COVID-19 peacetime emergency on Thursday, his office announced late Tuesday.

The plan to end the emergency, which has been in effect since March 2020, came after the administration struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on monthly emergency food payments for Minnesota residents.

The announcement came just before midnight as the Legislature continued to work on the last remaining bills for a two-year state budget that must pass by Thursday to avoid a partial government shutdown.

The emergency powers, which Walz had earlier proposed lifting on Aug. 1, have been the subject of a long political battle that continued even moments before the governor announced their end.

Those powers were being debated late Tuesday as the House took up the state government budget bill that funds Walz's office and other state constitutional officers, in which Republicans sought to include an immediate end to Walz's power.

House Democrats introduced an amendment to transition out of the state's COVID-19 emergency response shortly after Walz's agreement with the federal government late Tuesday.

"Our agreement with our federal partners to extend those benefits for Minnesotans, coupled with the thoughtful plan outlined in the House Democrats' amendment to wind down the emergency response in state government, means that we can close this chapter of our history and celebrate the brighter days ahead," Walz said in a statement late Tuesday.

"I ask our colleagues in the Minnesota Senate to adopt this amendment, help us finish the job, and avoid a government shutdown."

The governor's office said his deal with the federal government will allow the state to continue to receive $45 million in monthly emergency food assistance benefits for more than 575,000 Minnesotans after the emergency declaration expires Thursday.

The House DFL amendment that was being considered Wednesday morning would let the Health and Human Services commissioners declare a public health disaster related to the pandemic, and continue executive orders related to state COVID-19 staffing and unemployment insurance regulations through Aug. 1.

The amendment also would allow Walz to manage vaccination and testing without a peacetime emergency. The governor, meanwhile, would still be able to declare a new emergency as necessary.

But the news introduced fresh uncertainty to the Legislature's work in trying to pass a public safety and judiciary spending bill that advanced out of the House after hours of debate.

Responding to Walz's announcement early Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said the plan blew up a deal he said he had reached with House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, regarding the emergency declaration.

That agreement, Gazelka said, also allowed for an amendment for "sign and release" warrants, which would no longer require police to arrest a person who missed a court date for certain low-level offenses. The House also approved an amendment penalizing people for sharing personal information about a law enforcement officer, such as their home address.

But after Walz's announcement, the GOP Senate voted to strip those changes out of the public safety bill and return it to the House early Wednesday morning.

"The bargain was not met in the House on the state government bill and so we are going back to the agreement that we had prior which did not include those two provisions and so we are sending that back," Gazelka said.

Staff writer Jessie Van Berkel contributed to this report.