Gov. Tim Walz will convene another special session of the Minnesota Legislature beginning on Wednesday. It will be the summer’s third.
The governor aims to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency powers for another 30 days in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As long as the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to Minnesotans, it is my duty to work to provide our state with the tools we need to fight this,” Walz said in a news release.
The special session news came alongside an announcement that the governor has appealed the federal government’s decision to deny Minnesota financial support to rebuild infrastructure damaged during riots after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Walz requested aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on July 2 to clean up extensive fire damage. His request was denied July 10.
The governor’s office has estimated that the unrest led to more than $500 million in damage, with $15 million directly tied to the arson fires. Fires that damage public infrastructure are eligible for repair reimbursement aid under the Stafford Act, a federal law outlining disaster assistance.
“As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, the need for support from our federal partners is more important than ever,” Walz said in a news release.
Walz and DFL allies have asserted that the peacetime emergency powers are needed to quickly provide COVID-19 relief, to meet state goals on testing and to provide economic stability for those in need.
But Republican lawmakers have sought to limit the governor’s powers, resulting in multiple lawsuits in state and federal court.
Nearly every state is under some kind of ongoing emergency order.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” Walz said.