Today, Senate Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, proposed and passed amendments to the state government omnibus bill that waives the penalties on businesses who violated COVID-19 safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, they also voted to bring an abrupt end to Governor Walz’s emergency powers immediately, which effectively ends $45 million a month in emergency SNAP benefits for those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic and deal with food insecurity.
Following the votes on the Senate floor, Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) released the following statement:
“At a time when we need to focus on passing a budget to avoid a shutdown, Senate Republicans chose to play political games today and delay the process. The provisions that they added to the Senate state government omnibus bill to end the governor’s peacetime emergency powers immediately and remove penalties from businesses who broke the law during COVID-19 restrictions, were not part of the original budget agreement and recklessly leaves $90 million on the table in SNAP funding for those families who are food insecure.”
“The governor has a thoughtful roadmap to end his emergency powers on August 1 and shared his plan with Senate Republican leaders. The amendment today to end emergency powers immediately was nothing more than a power grab from the Senate Republicans. Furthermore, the Senate Republicans’ proposal to waive penalties on those businesses who broke the law and ignored COVID-19 safety protocols is completely unfair to all of those businesses who followed the rules, in the interest of public safety, while they fought to keep their own businesses open.”
“The Senate Republican actions today were not in the best interest of Minnesotans and put our state at risk of a government shutdown as the path forward on the state government omnibus bill now remains unclear.”