In the Republican response to the State of the State address, House Minority Leader Kurt Daud said:

“The legislature is working closely with the governor, and unlike Washington DC, we’re working without partisan political games. Right now we are united in a common goal of fighting this pandemic and helping Minnesota families and businesses weather this storm.”

But Daudt also said the governor’s executive orders have forced some businesses to close, even when they could stay open by practicing social distancing. Daudt also urged Walz to reconsider plans for the early release of some prisoners and said the governor should discourage law enforcement from prosecuting those who violate his stay-at-home order.

Daudt said legislators have sent dozens of appeals to the governor’s office from businesses affected by the shutdown order:

“I know there’s tremendous frustration over the fairness of some businesses being allowed to stay open while others are forced to close, even when they can practice social distancing. I want you to know that we hear you and we are fighting for you.”

Daudt is urging the governor and his administration to carry out his executive orders with compassion and common sense. He says for example lawn workers should be able to go back on the job and golf courses should be allowed to open.

Daudt also said the governor should reconsider plans for early release of prisoners and “draw a firm line… that violent offenders will not be released”:

“I’ve already been hearing from law-abiding citizens who are frustrated that they’ve been asked to remain in place and shut down their businesses while prisoners may get an early end to their prison sentence.”

Walz administration officials say the state has a constitutional responsibility when possible to remove inmates from settings where they’re exposed to risk from COVID-19.

Daudt also said the governor should tell law enforcement that criminal charges should be paused for violations of his stay-at-home order…

…”and discourage Minnesotans from using the state phone line to tattle on their neighbors.”

The governor said earlier:

“We’re not gonna take down a telephone number that allows people just to try and keep their neighbors safe.”

Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the hotline is “not necessary and it’s not how Minnesotans want to treat each other.” He adds, “We can all show a bit of kindness to our neighbors as we manage our times and needs differently in the stay at home efforts.”

Gazelka says the sooner that more people can go back to work, the better:

“If you’re a landscaper, if you’re out on the golf course, if you’re putting docks in the water — all of those kind of things if we do social distancing I think we can do. And so let’s get Minnesota back to work again as soon as possible.”

Gazelka says Minnesota will have a budget shortfall because of COVID-19 and…

“We need to tighten our belt. We need to ask everybody, what is it that we’re doing, how do we do it better and less expensive — because we can’t print money like the federal government does, and so we have to live within the resources we have.”