Minnesota House blocks vote on Walz emergency powers, allowing them to stay

The Minnesota House of Representatives blocked a vote Wednesday to end Governor Walz's emergency power put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate voted 36-31 -- with only one Democrat breaking ranks -- to end Gov. Walz's emergency powers. Democrats in the House however blocked a vote on emergency powers on a 71-61 vote, meaning Walz will keep them.

The House quickly adjourned, meaning its part of the special session is over.

In March, Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency to deal with the pandemic. The emergency order allowed him to put in place restrictions -- like limiting gatherings and closing certain establishments -- to slow the spread of the virus.

However, Republicans have questioned the need for Walz to retain his powers. Senate Major Leader Paul Gazelka has said that he believes the legislature can handle further actions on the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the special session last week, along with his intent to extend the emergency, a statement from Governor Walz's office argued that the virus is still a threat to Minnesota and his actions are in line with other governors.