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Green: Legislature must work together to ensure government does not impede recovery

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


To the editor,

Gov. Tim Walz recently issued another executive order – Order 20-35 – to extend his first Peacetime Emergency Executive Order by another 30 days, through May 13. This order does not extend the Stay at Home shutdown past May 1 as currently ordered; he would have to do that separately.

The governor has declared he has the authority to continue extending the emergency declaration every 30 days unless the Legislature stops him. Given the makeup of the Minnesota House of Representatives, it is unlikely the House will intercede.

Republican members of the House and Senate Rural Caucus sent a letter to the governor office requesting he start opening businesses in portions of the state less infected. Apparently, his response was to extend the emergency declaration another month.

Walz’s stated goal of the shutdown was to give hospitals time to prepare for a spike in COVID-19 cases requiring intensive care facilities. Now, comments by the governor indicate he will not open the state until we can test 5,000 people per day; to date, we have tested fewer than 40,000 Minnesotans. The governor also said he intends to track those being tested. If he continues to move the goalpost, we will never open.

We now have 3,000 beds available across Minnesota. Early this week, we received the good news there have been no deaths from this virus in a 24-hour period. Although it may be unrealistic to believe there will not be more, it is certainly showing promise.

I am receiving many calls a day from constituents who feel abandoned and ignored. I am hearing from ranchers unable to sell feeder stock, workers in every field wanting to go back to work, and seemingly everyone between. They all are living in uncertainty.

Still, we see reactionary decisions but no movement by Minnesota’s executive branch in planning the forward path. I now have authored several bills relaxing regulations and repurposing existing spending to help us think about what happens on this other side of this outbreak. They are only a start and the Legislature must work together to ensure government does not impede recovery.

My email is filled with angry Minnesotans demanding the Legislature get control of this governor. Current law does give the Legislature the authority to do that and we will need help from the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives.

I believe this is a flawed system. If power in the House were to switch next year, we should consider asking Minnesotans to change our Constitution by requiring a positive vote from the Legislature to extend a peacetime emergency past one week. Our government was built on checks and balances and this move may add an added layer of protection for citizens.


Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston

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