Minnesota House speaker tests positive for coronavirus

Published 5:20 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2022

ST. PAUL — Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman said Wednesday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus but that she won’t be sidelined in the final days of the 2022 legislative session.

“My allergies seemed a little bit worse this morning than a normal spring day so I thought it would be prudent to check,” the Democrat from Brooklyn Park tweeted. “Out of an abundance of caution, I took a COVID test that came back positive. I’m fully vaccinated, boosted, and feeling fine. I will continue to participate in end of session negotiations remotely.”

But Hortman’s need to self-isolate will complicate efforts by House Democrats to reach compromises with the Senate Republican majority and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on a long list of unresolved issues before the mandatory adjournment date of May 23.

Lawmakers have yet to agree on what to do with around $7 billion of the state’s $9.25 billion budget surplus. Senate Republicans are pushing for permanent income tax cuts for all taxpayers, while House Democrats back more targeted tax relief with higher spending on education and other programs. There are also deep differences on public safety legislation and other policy issues.

Hortman’s counterpart, Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, of Winona, said in a statement that he spoke with her by phone Wednesday morning to wish her a speedy recovery. His spokeswoman said he was following federal guidelines, was not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and did not need to quarantine.