DFL Senator’s inauguration party shows the hypocrisy and randomness of rule by Executive Order

Yesterday, I wrote about an event scheduled for the steps of the state Capitol next Tuesday for seven DFL state Senators to celebrate their election, seemingly in breach of Gov. Walz’ Executive Orders (EO) on outdoor social gatherings.

It turns out that, in fact, the event is not in breach of those EOs and has a permit from the Department of Administration, shown below:


The relevant portion of Executive Order 20-103 is, apparently:

viii. Venues providing outdoor events and entertainment (whether permanent, temporary, or mobile) such as racetracks, paintball, go-karts, mini-golf, performance venues, festivals, fairs, vendor fairs, and amusement parks may be open in accordance with the applicable guidance available on the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafemn.gov/) and the following requirements:

A. All venues must ensure that physical distancing of at least six feet is maintained between participants from different households. Venues may not exceed 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 100 people.

This, were are told, covers the party at the Capitol next Tuesday. Of course, as the list of venues does not include the state Capitol, we are entitled to conclude that any outdoor space counts, such as, say, my in-law’s yard. Also, given that it is a public space, it is not clear how attendance will be limited to 100, something a mini-golf course can enforce with fences and gates.

Do as we say, not as we do

Beyond this, the episode raises two further points.

First, it illustrates the ‘Do as we say, not as we do’ of too many of our state officials. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans have given up important events this year – high school and college graduations, weddings, christenings, Bar Mitzvahs, Eid al-Fitr, Hmong new year – in the name of fighting Covid-19. But, apparently, these seven Senators will not be denied their little shindig. The message is clear: their event is important, yours isn’t. Once again, Gov. Walz’ ‘One Minnesota’ schtick is exposed for the empty slogan it is.

‘The science’ apparently tells Gov. Walz that Covid-19 is picky about where it infects

Second, it raises the question of what science tells Gov. Walz that Covid-19 the risk of Covid-19 spreading is high in my in-laws back yard but not on the steps of the state Capitol. It is, presumably, the same ‘science’ which tells him that Covid-19 does not spread at bars and restaurants on reservations but does spread at bars an restaurants elsewhere in the state. The pretense that ‘science’ is guiding any of these diktats no longer holds up. What we have instead are a bunch of random, unscientifc measures which are grinding small – politically unconnected – businesses to dust. Again, so much for ‘One Minnesota’.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.