With the governor once again extending the state’s peacetime emergency for another 30 days, a proclamation has been issued calling legislators back to St. Paul next Monday.
Scheduled for a 3 p.m. start, this will be the seventh special session of 2020.
In a letter to legislative leaders, Gov. Tim Walz noted a continuance of the emergency allows the state “to take swift action to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities, families, and businesses.”
The action, Walz indicated, is needed because COVID-19 cases in the state continue to increase. He said more than 4,000 Minnesotans have died due to the coronavirus, including more than 1,300 in the past month.
“This surge has placed our hospitals under strain, hospitalizations remain high and the number of available ICU beds and staff are limited. Our hospitals may soon be under even more strain as health experts warn of a continued surge following the holidays. Because the pandemic continues to threaten lives in Minnesota, and local resources continue to be inadequate to address the threat, I am extending the peacetime emergency,” Walz wrote.
Will the session include a financial assistance package to help small-business owners and others hurt by the pandemic?
Such a product is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee.
At a Tuesday news conference, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said there was no deal on an economic relief package, but legislative leaders planned to meet Wednesday night.
“Minnesota’s small businesses and workers are bearing a large burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect their entire community amid restrictions that are saving lives,” Walz said in a separate statement. “I call upon our state legislature to come together and ensure our businesses stay afloat, our workers are supported, and our families can put food on the table.”
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.