Lawmakers to meet again in July

FAIRMONT — State Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, says he and fellow lawmakers will give it another shot next month when they return for a second special session.

Gunther this week expressed frustration with the process, particularly about the Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz’s failure to pay out $841 million in federal funds the state has received for the coronavirus pandemic. Those funds would aid counties, cities and townships.

Martin County is in line to receive $2.44 million, with Fairmont getting $776,000. Truman, as an example, would get $79,000, and townships could get up to $13,000, in the case of Silver Lake Township.

Faribault County is expected to receive $1.74 million, with Blue Earth getting $241,000. Watonwan County would get $1.37 million.

Gunther says a bill to send along those funds passed in the Republican-controlled Senate, but hit a roadblock in the Democrat-controlled House, which wanted to add unrelated funding to the measure. The Senate also chose to adjourn Saturday, meaning the special session ended without resolution.

The two sides also disagreed and found no settlement on issues including police reforms in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, aid for businesses damaged by the protests following Floyd’s death nor on a bonding bill that has failed to advance for two years.

Gunther noted that the Legislature also must meet next month to choose whether to keep extending Walz’s emergency powers amid the pandemic. Gunther expressed worry about the state continuing to live under the power of one man, the governor, who has been making decisions about how the state and businesses are allowed to function. He said that as long as Democrats in the House of Representatives keep standing with Walz things will not change.


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