Press Release

Attorney General Ellison: Governor’s order to ‘Stay at Home’ is ‘firmly rooted in Minnesota law,’ ‘reasonable and necessary’

Will vote to approve Order at Executive Council meeting later today

March 25, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released the following statement upon Governor Walz’s issuing Executive Order 20-20, “Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home”:

“As Attorney General and a member of the Executive Council, I fully support Governor Walz’s ‘Stay at Home’ Executive Order and will vote to approve it today. As Minnesota’s chief legal officer, I am confident the Governor’s authority to issue it is firmly rooted in Minnesota law. The Legislature granted the Governor the authority and duty under state law to protect Minnesotans in a peacetime emergency. Chapter 12 gives him the power to “protect the public peace, health and safety, and preserve the lives and property of the people of the state.” Section 12.21 provides that the Governor may direct and control “the conduct of persons in the state,” “entrance or exit from any stricken or threatened public place, occupancy of facilities, and the movement and cessation of movement of pedestrians, vehicular traffic,” and “the evacuation, reception, and sheltering of persons.”

“Nineteen states, along with many cities, counties, and tribes, have now implemented stay-at-home orders that cover more than half of the nation’s population. This is a clear sign that Governor Walz’s order is a reasonable and necessary exercise of state power in an emergency and consistent with Minnesota’s and every state’s authority and obligation to protect lives and public safety.

“I say to all Minnesotans: stay home. Comply with the Order. Every trusted analysis of the pandemic tells us that when we stay home, we will flatten the curve. Flattening the curve means that fewer people will get sick. Fewer people will need to consume emergency resources and hospital beds. More people who need those services will have access to them. More people will live.

“Minnesota, we know how to get through hard times together. This is another of those times. We can choose to let it bring out the worst in us or the best in us. Let’s choose the best in us.”