Minnesota Republicans assail Walz pandemic powers, oust labor commissioner
August 13, 2020
Republican lawmakers ousted state Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink on Wednesday as they continued to clash with Gov. Tim Walz's administration over his decision to extend the peacetime emergency he's used since March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The confirmation of Leppink, who Walz appointed in early 2019, was defeated in a 34-32 Senate vote. The move, which Republicans tied in part to her regulatory actions during the pandemic, represented a sharp and unexpected rebuke to the DFL governor during the Legislature's third special session.
"Businesses across the state need a responsive and supportive commissioner as we recover from COVID. Leppink has instead increased regulations on business and even been hostile to businesses. And it's not responding to the needs they have as we address reopening and compliance with COVID executive orders," said GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.