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With COVID-19 cases surging, Walz calls Legislature back for year's sixth special session on Thursday

State lawmakers are scheduled to gather for the sixth special session of 2020, beginning at noon Thursday. Gov. Tim Walz called lawmakers back to the State Capitol with a proclamation issued Monday. House Photography file photo

With new COVID-19 records for cases, hospitalizations and deaths being set almost daily in Minnesota, the Legislature will get back together at noon on Thursday.

On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz issued a proclamation calling the House and Senate back to St. Paul Nov. 12, and noted he intends to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to help the state continue to quickly and effectively respond to the pandemic. However, many members are expected to participate remotely.

“This is a dangerous phase of this pandemic. We’re in the midst of a surge in case positivity and hospitalizations,” Walz said in a statement. “Extending the Peacetime Emergency will help ensure we have the tools we need to respond quickly to protect Minnesotans’ health and well-being.”

Earlier Monday, Walz announced a “significant expansion in COVID-19 testing access,” a tool permitted the state’s top elected official through the peacetime emergency declaration. In the first five special sessions of 2020, a resolution to end the governor’s peacetime emergency powers was passed by the Senate, but a concurrent House resolution not come up for a vote.

This will be the sixth special session of 2020 and 14th special session since 2010.

Here’s a recap of this year’s first five special sessions:

Looking ahead, the 2021 session is scheduled to begin Jan. 5. For a preliminary look at who is scheduled to serve in the House during the 2021-22 biennium, check out the Election Directory published by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office.

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