Walz keeps emergency powers as legislative Democrats fight off GOP challenge

Minnesota legislative Democrats backed Gov. Tim Walz and voted to keep the governor's peacetime emergency powers over the coronavirus in place despite stiff opposition from Republicans.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 73-61 to continue Walz's emergency powers after hours of contentious debate. Earlier, the GOP-controlled Senate voted 38-29 to end the emergency.

Three Democratic senators -- Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen and John Hoffman -- joined with all 35 Republicans voting yes, though Franzen later said her vote was in error and she would ask to have it reconsidered.

Walz first declared a peacetime emergency on March 13 to deal with the virus pandemic. He extended his emergency powers Friday, and was therefore required to call lawmakers back into a special session.