State Republicans, churches sue Walz claiming health regulations are unconstitutional

State Republicans, churches sue Walz claiming health regulations are unconstitutional

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — State Republicans and members of several churches announced a lawsuit Thursday afternoon, suing Gov. Tim Walz.

The claim: his health regulations imposed on churches requiring social distancing and reduced capacity interfere with worship and are unconstitutional.

Rep. Jeremy Munson (R - Lake Crystal) joined GOP members, the New House Republican Caucus and Minnesota pastors Thursday to announce the new lawsuit against the governor.

Attorney Erick Kaardal said during a virtual news conference that COVID-19 guidelines interfere with worship.

“There’s a six foot social distancing requirement, which interferes with such things as communal prayer, holding of hands, laying of hands, personal blessings,” he said.

The complaint has five claims that in part argue the governor is exceeding his constitutional authority.

“Minnesota’s constitution protects religious liberty, too,” Kaardal said.

Other states like Texas have excluded churches from COVID-19 requirements.

The lawsuit comes as another lawsuit filed by Rep. Munson to end the governor’s peacetime emergency powers waits a decision.

“This lawsuit includes the same arguments that that lawsuit does but just includes different plaintiffs and stresses the importance for other reasons,” said Munson.

Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL - North Mankato) responded to the lawsuit saying that safety should be considered.

“For churches, I would say, people have a right in the constitution to worship. We want to allow that to the extent it’s safe. Do we debate how safe it has to be? Yes we do,” he said.

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