With Governor Walz likely to announce further loosening of COVID restrictions later this week, the question is: Will it be enough for Republicans?  Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has hinted, unless Walz relinquishes COVID emergency powers, there might not be agreement on the budget — requiring stopgap measures to avoid state government shutdown:

“If the governor decides that he wants to hang onto emergency powers to keep businesses closed and force youth to wear masks playing sports, then you can expect a ‘lights-on’-type budget.”

The governor responds his emergency powers are in place to protect public health if COVID flares up, but acknowledges that Republicans…

“What they’re asking is, what’s the off-ramp of things like… business capacity limits?  And those are things we’re talking about.”

Walz said Friday the way things are going with COVID, he anticipates the State Fair “should be a pretty-close-to-normal event.”