Senate Republicans are moving ahead with two controversial and high-profile measures as they begin assembling the next two-year state budget. One would cancel the governor’s COVID emergency powers after 30 days unless both the Minnesota House and Senate agree to extend them — something Democrats are unlikely to support. House Speaker Melissa Hortman:

“If we can really knock COVID-19 on its ass, then the governor will have no further need to exercise the emergency power.”

The Senate bill would also provide 174-thousand dollars to repair and reinstall the Christopher Columbus statue on the State Capitol grounds that protesters toppled last summer. Opponents say the statue honors a colonizer, conquerer and rapist.