While some anniversaries celebrate events you want to remember, State Representative Bjorn Olson (R-Elmore) said an upcoming Minnesota anniversary is one many want to forget.

It has been one year since the Minnesota Legislature gave Governor Walz emergency powers authority to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now 12 months later, and with the Legislature already back in session for two and a half months, Olson said the governor has resisted all calls to relinquish this power.

“Emergency powers were meant to be used for a short period of time, when the legislature was not in session, to allow the state to quickly respond to an unexpected crisis,” Olson said. “With vaccinations on the rise and reported COVID-19 cases on the decline, everyone but the governor recognizes the emergency phase of this pandemic has ended.”

The Governor’s Office recently announced that nearly 70% of senior citizens in Minnesota – the group most at risk from COVID-19 – have been vaccinated, which means vaccination eligibility has now expanded in the state and Minnesota has taken another big step towards herd immunity.

Olson also noted that three times in the past this week – bringing the total to 15 times in the past year – House Republicans voted to end the governor’s emergency powers. Unfortunately, House Democrats who previously voted to end the powers prior to last November’s election are no longer doing so, continuing to enable the Governor’s unilateral authority and refusing to restore the legislature as a Constitutional co-equal branch of government.

Meanwhile, Minnesotans who own or work in restaurants, movie theaters, bars, event centers, salons, entertainment venues continue to operate with significant restrictions.

“Its been a year, and the governor still does not have a long-range plan on when these restricted businesses can fully reopen,” Olson said. “While other states are focused on slowly and safely brining their states back to normal, our governor insists on maintaining his one-person rule, which continues to harm too many of our local business owners