With mask mandate lifted, legislature could force end to powers without risking federal funds
ST. PAUL, MN — Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing, introduced new legislation Saturday aimed at ending the Governor's peacetime emergency powers while preserving important tools that would allow Minnesota to continue receiving federal funds and keeping in place the Governor's ability to run testing and vaccination efforts — two key pieces identified by the Governor and Democrats as reasons for opposing the end to the current peacetime emergency.
"With the mask mandate lifted, we have an opportunity to come together to end the emergency powers while giving the Governor limited and specific tools to continue critical COVID response efforts," Haley said. "My bill would allow Minnesota to continue receiving federal funding, and keep our testing and vaccinations moving while we end the emergency powers and restore the legislature's role as a co-equal branch of government.
Haley's bill would terminate the current Chapter 12 peacetime emergency, and prevents Gov. Walz from imposing a new Chapter 12 emergency related to COVID-19 moving forward. The bill would give flexibility to the Governor for contracting related to vaccinations, and give the Minnesota Department of Human Services limited authority to declare a public health disaster for the purposes of allowing the state to continue receiving federal funds like SNAP.
"For more than a year, the governor has enjoyed unchecked authority to effectively write law and has left the legislature on the sidelines as key decisions were being made. With our vaccinations rising and cases plummeting, the emergency is objectively over — this bill would give us a path out of the emergency powers and help move budget negotiations forward," Haley concluded.