This leftover from the weekend encapsulates the leadership crisis facing the state of Minnesota — and how even an arguably good decision gets undermined by it. Gov. Tim Walz announced a mask mandate for all public indoor venues and some outdoor venues as well, after a couple of weeks of dithering over the decision. Walz cited thousands of messages from the private sector urging him to impose the emergency measure as a motivating factor in his decision.
What didn’t get disclosed, however, is that Walz’ office solicited those messages — and in fact wrote templates for them without any disclosure of their involvement. That has legislators crying foul at the state capital:
Just as Gov. Tim Walz announced a statewide mask mandate this week, his top economic development commissioner fired off an e-mail to business and industry groups urging them to submit pre-written letters supporting the policy to newspapers and other organizations.
None of the sample letters included disclosures indicating the text was written and provided by state officials.
The push sparked protests Friday from Senate GOP leaders accusing the DFL governor of using state resources for what they called a “taxpayer funded PR campaign” in support of a mandate that many Republicans oppose as an overreach of his emergency powers to curb the spread of COVID-19.