Republican State Senator Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake told the KMRS Legislator’s Corner that there is a constant tug-of-war between the Executive and Legislative branches of state government during these pandemic times. Westrom said the Legislature is a co-equal branch of government and wants to be engaged in the decisions on COVID-19 being made by Governor Walz that are having such a huge impact on the state.
“We are constantly keeping the pressure on, because some of these decisions of waiving deadlines that are written in statutes, frankly — and our Senate Counsel tells us over and over — he actually does not have that authority under the Emergency Powers, a statute that has given him the ability to declare a Peacetime Emergency,” said Westrom.
Westrom said if they were written through the rules from a state agency, those would indeed be changeable by the governor without any consultation needed from the legislature. But statutory rules, such as shutting down the courts, should be addressed through the legislature.