Minnesota Governor calls for special session to extend peacetime emergency powers

In an effort to extend his peacetime emergency powers, Gov. Tim Walz will convene a special session of the Minnesota Legislature beginning Thursday, the sixth special session of 2020. 

In a release, his office said it was related to “climbing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.” He intends to extend his peacetime emergency powers by 30 days, a move that automatically triggers a special session. 

The state of Minnesota has seen record-high COVID-19 numbers over the last week, and neighboring states are seeing similar spikes. Minnesota’s case positivity rate is above 10 percent. The level at which COVID-19 spread is considered controllable is 10 percent. To compare, Wisconsin’s case positivity rate is over 34 percent as of Monday.

“This is a dangerous phase of this pandemic. We’re in the midst of a surge in case positivity and hospitalizations,” said Walz.

He added that by extending his emergency powers, his office can “respond quickly” to the virus in Minnesota.

Earlier Monday, Walz hinted at potentially increasing COVID-19 restrictions in an effort to curb the spread in the state.

He made the announcement while touring a new saliva testing site in Minneapolis. During that event, he said there will be more than a dozen new testing sites opening across the state over the next two weeks, all of which will offer free testing to anyone, whether they have symptoms or not. The expansion includes opening 11 sites operated by the Minnesota National Guard, which will remain open through at least the end of the year. The 11 sites will offer a mix of saliva and nasal PCR tests.