20 March 2020 – Peacetime emergency declared, price gouging prohibited

Type of Intervention: Executive Order, Regulation
Sectors Involved: Finance/Economy, Local Government
Intervention Categories: Legal and policy; Regulatory change
Level of Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Lead People/Agency: Governor Tim Walz, Attorney General office

Overview: Governor Walz today signed Executive Orders 20-10 to further strengthen Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order 20-10 prohibits price gouging during the peacetime emergency, responding to reports of essential goods necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the public being sold at excessive and prohibitive prices. This prohibition takes effect on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Individuals found to be in violation are subject to investigation and enforcement by the Attorney General’s office. This executive order brings Minnesota, which does not have a statute on price gouging, in line with most other states in the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to our State. Minnesota has taken proactive steps to ensure that we are ahead of the curve on COVID-19 prevention and response.
On March 13, 2020, I (Gov. Tim Walz) issued Executive Order 20-01 and declared a peacetime emergency because this pandemic, an act of nature, threatens the lives of Minnesotans, and local resources are inadequate to address the threat.
Full details here: https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/news/#/detail/appId/1/id/424173

Other links: 1
Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Perception of an increased threat
Source of Evidence or Justification: Minnesota Attorney General, Minnesota State Government
Evidence/Justification: The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has received numerous reports of price gouging from consumers throughout the State. These reports have included concerns about excessive pricing on hygiene supplies, cleaning products, personal protective equipment, food, and other essential consumer goods and services.

These concerns raise risks of immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage to consumers, and immediate risk to the public interest of ensuring that Minnesotans can prepare for and respond to this emergency situation. These matters implicate safety concerns and matters of public safety, personal safety, and economic security. As a result, immediate resolution of these concerns (including but not limited to necessary and prompt court-intervention) is in the public interest and necessary to protect the public peace, health, and safety of Minnesotans during this peacetime emergency.