ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) — Rep. Jeremy Munson (R - Lake Crystal) is suing Gov. Tim Walz claiming his emergency powers are unconstitutional.
Walz has extended the COVID-19 peacetime emergency and, with it, his emergency powers for another 30 days.
In a news release Friday, Walz announced he would be calling a special session for this week and extending his peacetime emergency to “quickly and effectively respond to the pandemic.”
But the ongoing decision to extend his powers has been met with a lawsuit, with lawmakers like Munson arguing he’s using his powers unchecked.
“It’s an exercise of pure, legislative power, which under our constitution that requires a separation of power is unconstitutional. The second reason why we’re suing him is because the law as written allows for a legislative veto where both chambers must take away his powers. The Supreme Court of the United States found that legislative vetoes are unconstitutional,” Munson said.
Munson also argued that lawmakers introduced but failed to pass a bill allowing the governor to declare a peacetime emergency due to a public health crisis.
Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL - North Mankato) took a different stance on the issue.
“The last time the Senate visited the issue of the emergency powers, it was pointed out that 49 of our 50 governors are exercising emergency powers. In my opinion, it’s clearly in interest of the public health and those powers should continue,” Frentz said.
In the last special session, the Senate voted to end Walz’s powers.
Republican lawmakers argued the Legislature could pass into law executive orders that would expire if the peacetime emergency comes to an end.
The House ended up blocking that vote.
Similar lawsuits have been successful in other states.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order.
A peacetime emergency gives the governor power to authorize aid in addition to other powers listed in the state’s emergency operations plan.