ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota House blocked a GOP attempt Friday to terminate the emergency powers that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans contend that Walz has used those powers to govern unchecked, causing economic harm without achieving better results than states with looser restrictions, such as Wisconsin. But Democrats argued that the coronavirus is still a serious threat and that the governor still needs authority to act quickly.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 39-29 to cancel the governor's special authority. Three Democrats voted with the Republican majority, but one later said her vote was a mistake.
That vote was largely symbolic. The Democratic-controlled House voted 73-61 to reject a similar House GOP bid.
Meanwhile, health officials said they're on alert after the number of the coronavirus cases in Minnesota increased for the third straight day, following four straight days of declines. The state confirmed 490 new cases and 25 more deaths.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she's "anxiously awaiting the data" regarding the uptick. But she also noted that there are about 200 fewer people hospitalized and 70 fewer in intensive care from highs recorded a couple of weeks ago.
Kris Ehresmann, the state's infectious disease director, said officials can adjust quickly if "things move in the wrong direction."