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Walz calls state lawmakers back to Capitol, plans to extend emergency order

Plus: hundreds protest after ex-MPD officer Derek Chauvin released from jail; decision on timetable for 2nd Congressional District election goes to federal judge; poll finds Biden retains lead in Minnesota as Trump campaign cuts advertising; and more.

Gov. Tim Walz
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Gov. Tim Walz
In the Pioneer Press, Christopher Magan says: “Gov. Tim Walz has called state lawmakers back to the Capitol next week for a fifth special session of the Minnesota Legislature in order to extend the peacetime emergency for another month. The Democratic governor has argued he needs the special powers, in place since March, so that state government can ‘quickly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Republicans in control of the state Senate may try to end the peacetime emergency, as they’ve done repeatedly since Walz recalled the Legislature to continue his emergency powers. Each of their previous efforts has died in the House, where the DFL Party has a majority. The Legislature reconvenes at noon Monday.”

The Star Tribune’s Abby Simons reports:, “About 300 people marched peacefully from the site where George Floyd died a few blocks north and back Wednesday night to protest the release from prison of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in his May 25 death. Chauvin left Oak Park Heights prison Wednesday after posting $1 million bond. … After making their way north a few blocks, marchers paused to chant, ‘No justice, no peace!’ They then made their way back down Portland Avenue toward E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, site of the Floyd memorial, while motorists and bystanders honked and raised their fists in solidarity.”

A KMSP-TV story says, “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist local law enforcement in the Twin Cities after Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, posted bond and was released from jail earlier Wednesday. The National Guard mobilization request came from the city of Minneapolis, the governor said in a statement. The National Guard is mobilizing 100 soldiers. The Minnesota State Patrol has also mobilized 100 state troopers and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has mobilized 75 conservation officers to assist local law enforcement.”

Jonathan Wolfe at The New York Times reports, “From Wisconsin to Montana, states in the nation’s breadbasket had mostly avoided large outbreaks during the initial months of the pandemic. Now, many hospitals in the region are filling to capacity and cases and deaths are on the rise. In the past week, North Dakota has reported more new cases per capita than any other state. Hospitalizations have risen so sharply that medical officials have had to send patients miles away for care, even across state lines to Montana and South Dakota. On Monday, across the entire state, just 39 staffed I.C.U. beds were available. In Wisconsin, the virus is raging out of control. Three of the four metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the most cases per capita last week were in northeastern Wisconsin, and hospital systems in the state are becoming overwhelmed.”

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MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “The timetable of a hotly contested congressional election is in the hands of a federal judge, who sought Wednesday to juggle apparent discrepancies between U.S. and Minnesota laws pushed to the fore by a candidate’s recent death. Judge Wilhelmina Wright’s conundrum boils down to this: What constitutes a vacancy and when is a ‘failure to elect’ standard met? Her answer will determine if the 2nd Congressional District race is decided in November or during a February special election. … Wright didn’t rule from the bench, but with so little time left before November’s election, a swift decision is assured.”

KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser reports: “Former Vice President Joe Biden remains in the lead to capture Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47% to 40%, according to our new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll conducted after the first debate and the president’s diagnosis with COVID-19. The poll also shows 10% are undecided and 3% favor other candidates. The poll includes 929 “likely” voters across the state. The margin in favor of Biden is two points smaller than KSTP’s poll a month ago, when he led Trump 49% to 40%.”

The Star Tribune’s Briana Bierschbach writes: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is pulling millions of dollars worth of television ads off the air in Minnesota as Democratic challenger Joe Biden maintains a steady lead in polls in the state. The Trump campaign, which pledged to spend $14 million on ads in Minnesota earlier in the campaign cycle, has been slashing spending in the state since mid-September, according to ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics and filings with the Federal Communications Commission.”

The Associated Press reports: “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis left the campaign trail for the second time in less than a week Wednesday after learning that he had been in contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus. The Lewis campaign issued a statement saying the person, who was not identified for privacy reasons, tested positive on Wednesday morning. So the former congressman began self-quarantining and making plans to get tested again, in keeping with federal guidelines. The statement said Lewis was feeling fine and displaying no symptoms.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Liz Navratil writes: “The fate of a lawsuit challenging Minneapolis’ 2040 Comprehensive Plan is now in the hands of the Minnesota Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in the case Wednesday. Three groups — Smart Growth Minneapolis, the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis and Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds — sued the city in December 2018, seeking to block the City Council from approving the document that will guide development in Minneapolis for years to come. Their lawsuit was dismissed, and they are now asking the Supreme Court to reinstate the case.”