Insider: Gov. Announcement, Legislative Session, Race for Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's latest executive orders limiting bars and restaurants to take out, delivery, and outdoor dining are set to expire next Monday.
Political insider Blois Olson says he's expecting the governor to make an announcement on Wednesday with some adjustments to those orders.
Cases have continued to fall as has the overall positivity rate versus testing. I think the governor is going to be mildly cautious just because of the Christmas and New Year's holiday to make sure there is not another spike coming, but I would expect there would be some tweaks to capacity for bars and restaurants.
Olson says he hasn't heard any specifics on any adjustments just yet.
Governor Walz's office released a statement late Monday saying:
As COVID-19 numbers improve following the pause on activities around the holidays, Governor Walz will address Minnesotans live on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. to announce a loosening of restrictions on indoor dining and other settings.
The regular session of the Minnesota State Legislature kicks off Tuesday. It will look a lot different with the House meeting entirely via Zoom and the Senate going with a hybrid approach.
The big job this session will be putting together a new two-year budget that begins on July 1st. Olson says there's a projected deficit for the two-year period, but that could change.
We are projecting a shortfall in the next biennium which starts on July 1st. The interesting dynamic there is it's anticipated that as the economy starts to reopen that deficit could be erased pretty quickly.
Olson says the state's big rainy day fund could be used to help balance the budget. For the remainder of this current budget cycle, the state has a projected $600 million surplus.
Some State Senators have also talked about putting together another bonding bill, although this isn't a bonding year.
Another item to watch this session will be how newly Independent State Senators Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni vote. The former Democrats are expected to vote a majority of the time with the Republican party.
It's still really early, but the talk about the race for Minnesota Governor is starting to heat-up. Olson says a well-known businessman appears ready to be one of the first to enter the race.
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell has said now he's about 90-95 percent sure he's going to run for governor. He's not in the legislature so that changes the dynamic of campaigning for delegate support for the endorsement.
Former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk has also floated the idea of running for governor. Olson says will probably won't have any confirmed candidates until this summer, but he is expecting a crowded field of five or more candidates on the Republican side. Current governor Tim Walz is halfway through his first term in office. The election will be held in November of 2022.