Walz says if Malcolm’s job is at risk, so is the special legislative session

Published 10:51 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2021

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he would consider calling off a special session planned next month if Republicans pursue a threat to remove the state’s health commissioner.

Republican Sen. Jim Abeler, of Anoka, said at a rally against mask and vaccine mandates last weekend that he would like the GOP-controlled Senate to oust Jan Malcolm, who has led the response to COVID-19. Abeler, who along with other Republicans has been critical of Walz’s emergency powers and public health restrictions, said it “seems the only language the governor understands is the removal of another commissioner.”

The special session is scheduled in order to approve special bonus pay for essential pandemic workers. Going through with the assembly “would give me pause” if Malcolm’s job was at risk, Walz told Minnesota Public Radio News.

Walz said “the absurdity and recklessness and quite honestly the dangerous talk” of removing the commissioner in the middle of a spike in the highly contagious delta variant “makes no sense” and he’s not going to put Malcolm in that position.