“The emergency part of the pandemic is over.”

Print More

Gazelka Moves to end Emergency Orders

At a press conference on Monday July 13, Paul Gazelka (R, Senate Majority Leader) said he wanted to vote to end the governor’s emergency powers doing the pandemic. 

“The emergency part of the pandemic is over,” Gazelka said. “We have all the personal protection equipment we need, we have everything in place, and if you look at the number of people that need the ICU beds and the number of people that are dying, it has dramatically dropped over the past month or so.” 

According to the Department of Health, Coronavirus cases are on the rise, while daily hospitalizations and deaths have fallen (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/situation.html#daily2). 

“If you test more people, you are going to have more situations, and as people get out and about the public more you are going to have more people infected,” Gazelka said. “The question is, are more people dying? The answer is no, those numbers are going down dramatically.” 

When asked about the rising number of young people getting infected, Gazelka responded, “Nobody has died under the age 20 from COVID-19 in Minnesota. We need to get back to opening up our school and letting our school boards and administrators how they are going to manage that.” 

Gazelka said for the governor to mandate masks would be a mistake. “We don’t need a statewide mandate,” he said. 

Besides stripping the governor of his emergency powers, Gazelka said the Senate would work on a bonding bill as well as a tax relief bill for farmers and business owners. However, the House needed to take those bills up first. 

In addition, Gazelka said the Senate was prepared to tackle police accountability, with the caveat that Senate Republicans would not consider defunding or dismantling the police, felon voting, or increasing the powers of the Attorney General. 

“It seems like there is real progress happening there,” Gazelka said of the police accountability issue. “Banning chokeholds would be one of the things that would seem to be agreement.” 

Gazelka also listed the duty to intervene, and adding citizens to the Board of Police Officers Standards (POST) as items the Senate were interested in addressing. “It does feel like there’s been some progress there,” he said. He said the POST Board has asked for an independent national firm to audit the board, with results likely in September or October. 

Asked if the Senate would address the cause of George Floyd’s death with the same amount of scrutiny as it is currently addressing the unrest, through a series of multi-hour hearings led by Senator Scott Newman (R, Hutchinson), Gazelka said it was unlikely . 

“Nobody was focusing on the lawlessness issue, so that’s why we picked that up,” Gazelka said. 

Sheila Regan

Sheila Regan is a Minneapolis-based journalist. She's a regular contributor to The UpTake, and also contributes to TC Daily Planet and City Pages. Her work can also be found at mnartists, VitaMN, Classical MPR and in other local publications.

Comments are closed.