MN Government Updates 05.15

Walz Appoints Judge Gordon Moore to Minnesota Supreme Court

Governor Tim Walz today appointed Judge Gordon Moore to serve as the next associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Moore will fill the vacancy created upon the retirement of Justice David Lillehaug, who has served on the Supreme Court since 2013. Moore brings over 30 years of legal experience to the Court.

About Judge Gordon Moore: 

Judge Gordon Moore currently serves as a judge in the Fifth Judicial District chambered in Worthington in Nobles County, where he presides over a wide variety of criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, and child protection matters. Previously, Judge Moore served as the Nobles County Attorney, where he managed the office and was the county’s chief prosecutor. Prior to becoming the Nobles County Attorney, Judge Moore was an associate attorney and assistant city attorney at the Worthington law firm Malters, Shepherd & Von Holtum. He also was a special assistant and assistant attorney general under Attorney General Hubert Humphrey. Judge Moore’s community involvement has included service on the Worthington First United Methodist Church’s Board of Trustees, as a member of the Worthington Hockey Association’s Board of Directors, a youth hockey and soccer coach, founding director of the Worthington Futbol Club, and roles as chair with the boards of School District 518 and the Worthington Area YMCA.

Walz Press Briefing

Following the announcement of his appointment for the Minnesota Supreme Court, Governor Walz took questions from reporters relating to state efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • When asked if June 1 is the date for bars, restaurants, salons, and health clubs to open, the governor responded that June 1 is the goal, but not a guarantee. He said his administration is working to have guidance in place for these businesses by Wednesday, May 20.
  • When asked about priorities for the end of the 2020 Legislative Session, the governor responded that “a bonding bill is essential” and that the question is how big it will be. He also mentioned he hopes to use federal CARES Act money for local units of government, small business grant programs, and contact tracing.

Gazelka Press Briefing

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) held a press conference this morning to outline the Senate Republican Caucus priorities for the end of the 2020 Legislative Session. These priorities include:

  • Passing a bonding bill that is over $1 billion.
  • Undoing upcoming pay raises in employee state contracts.
  • Delaying business tax payments.
  • Providing a tax exemption for farm equipment.
  • Passing Mall of America tax aid through Tax Increment Financing.

Senator Gazelka also noted he would like to change the governor’s emergency powers authority.

Minnesota Department of Health Press Briefing

This afternoon, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing to update the public on state efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Jan Malcom, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state now has 14,240 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is up 808 from yesterday’s report and represents the largest single day-over-day increase.
  • There have been 20 more deaths due to COVID-19 since yesterday’s report. Of those 20, 17 were residents of long-term care facilities. The state now has 683 COVID-19 deaths.
  • Currently, 498 patients are in the hospital with 200 of those in the ICU.
  • Yesterday, 5,980 tests were processed – the second highest testing day thus far.
  • The commissioner highlighted Governor Walz’s order for all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 and on the 19th of every month through 2020 to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19.
  • When asked about audience-less professional baseball games continuing for the professional season, Commissioner Malcom responded that she doesn’t envision full stadiums anytime this year.

Dr. Ruth Lynfield, State Epidemiologist

  • Dr. Lynfield announced that the state has sent a health alert message out about a new condition called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, red tongue, swollen feet, and red or pink eyes. This illness may have a connection to COVID-19, but it’s not 100% clear.
  • Parents are advised to contact a clinician if their child is exhibiting any of these symptoms.

Director Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division

  • Director Ehresmann emphasized that with the stay-home order lifting, it’s importance for Minnesotans to continue social distancing – maintain a distance of six feet, wear a cloth mask in public, not gathering in groups of more than 10 while keeping social distance.
  • Additionally, current visitor restrictions to long-term care facilities will remain in place.
  • When asked about the number of children who have contracted COVID-19, Director Ehresmann responded that the state has had:
    • 176 cases in children from birth to 5-years-old.
    • 763 cases in children 6-years-old to 19-years-old.
    • 27 hospitalizations of children from birth to 19-years-old.
    • No deaths of children from birth to 19-years-old.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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