Even with a July special session looming, the issue may have lost any chance of passing in 2020. Why?
Minnesota’s insulin affordability plan had been sold as a compromise with the drug industry. That made the filing of the lawsuit galling to some, including Gov. Tim Walz, who said when told of PhRMA’s suit: “What the hell?”
The head of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association also cautioned bar owners that not following the state’s guidelines to stem COVID-19 infections “may end up being the reason for our Governor to dial back,” on reopening. “We have to do better.”
So far, the numbers have indicated that Minnesotans are on board in making the shift to voting by mail. As of Friday, the Secretary of State reported that 207,835 absentee ballot applications had been received. That compares to 8,964 applications at the same point in 2016.
Repeated statements by GOP leaders at the Minnesota Legislature make it clear they see any problems with policing as a more of a Minneapolis issue than a systemic one.
For now, it’s unclear when lawmakers will return to the Capitol. What’s also unclear, especially given the partisan differences exposed once again last week, is what the Legislature will be able to accomplish once it does return.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka admitted that what had once been a civil relationship between him and Walz has weakened, citing the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, the emotions sparked by the death of George Floyd and the upcoming election.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon’s decision to strike deals with two groups suing Minnesota over the state’s witness requirement for absentee ballots drew quick criticism from Republicans, who called the deals an end-run around the Legislature by a DFL secretary of state and friendly plaintiffs.
Gov. Tim Walz expressed “concern” about the bipartisan bill, which would distribute $841 million of the state’s allocation from the federal CARES Act to Minnesota cities, counties and townships, based on population.
For years, Minnesota has prohibited both public and private employers from asking job-seekers about their criminal history on initial application forms. Yet it somehow still allows the question to appear on applications for one class of job: appointments to state boards and commissions.
The main target of the suits is the state law requiring an absentee voter to have another registered voter witness the voting process — and the voter’s ballot signature.
It’s not as though the DFL-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate can’t or won’t acknowledge each other’s goals. It’s just that it isn’t going to be a top priority for what will be a unique special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
Walz’s latest order goes further in easing rules aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 than state officials had previously predicted.
Senate Republicans have been pushing a bill that would require legislative approval for the spending of federal CARES Act money. Walz opposes that, since the current process allows him to spend the federal dollars as he wishes, with a requirement only that he notify the Legislature.
A look at what we learned from Ellison’s remarks about the case, and from Gov. Tim Walz, who spoke to reporters after the charges against the officers became public.
Among other things, Gov. Tim Walz thinks the three other former Minneapolis Police officers involved in the Floyd case should also be charged with crimes. And that he appreciated a call from Jay-Z.
Walz said he now believes that much of the violence is being fanned by well-organized groups trained in urban warfare, while his public safety commissioner says there’s evidence that right-wing extremists and white supremacists have organized efforts to foster unrest.
“This is not going to be an easy journey,” the Minnesota governor said at a Friday morning news conference. “But the one thing we have to assure is that civil order is maintained so those changes we want to see” can happen. “None of us want to live in a society where roving bands go unchecked and do what they want to do, to ruin property.”
Sens. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake, Jim Abeler of Anoka and Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake said they had heard the system was meant to foster contact tracing — to collect the names of diners to use in case of a coronavirus exposure.
The health commissioner also specifically addressed those protesting the death of George Floyd, encouraging social distancing and the use of face masks.