Walz announces special session starting Monday, extends COVID-19 peacetime emergency

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced he will convene a special legislative session starting on Monday to focus on policing changes and bonding bill. 

Walz says he supports the recommendations on police reform and accountability from the the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus. The last special session held in June ended without a deal on policing.

"Our state had a trying few months, and we need the Legislature to rise to the occasion and get things done to help Minnesotans rebuild and recover," said Walz in a press release. "Give me a bill to sign on police accountability and reform and let’s work together to build a stronger, more equitable economy by investing in local jobs and projects across the state."

Just three days before the COVID-19 peacetime emergency was set to expire, Walz also announced he will extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. By law, the governor has to extend the emergency declaration every 30 days in order to have authority to carry out executive orders, such as closing businesses due to the pandemic. The Legislature can end a peacetime emergency extending beyond 30 days with a majority vote from each house.

Friday morning state and city leaders along with health officials called on Walz to extend the peacetime emergency. They are also asking for the governor to issue a mask mandate.

Lindsey Port, who is running for state Senate in Burnsville as a Democrat, was among those sharing that message. Port, 37, came down with COVID-19 in mid-March and says she still has decreased lung capacity.

"The doctors I’m working with still don’t know if this will be something that gets better over the next few months as my body recovers or if I’ll have kidney dysfunction for the rest of my life," said Port.

Since the outbreak began, there have been more than 40,000 confirmed cases in Minnesota and nearly 1,500 deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.