Walz to transfer power during anesthesia for medical procedure

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz will temporarily transfer power to Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan on Monday while he’s under general anesthesia for a colonoscopy, his office said Sunday.

The 58-year-old governor sent a letter Sunday to House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate President Bobby Joe Champion informing them of his plan, as per state law.

The transfer will start at 1 p.m. Monday when the procedure begins and will remain in effect until he sends the legislative leaders a written declaration that he is again able to discharge his duties. He plans to return home later that day to recuperate and is expected back in the office on Tuesday. “Preventive care screenings are critical tools to help detect, prevent, and treat disease,” Walz said in a statement. “I hope my procedure serves as a reminder and encouragement for Minnesotans to seek out preventative care and stay on top of your health.”

Colonoscopies are commonly used to check for colorectal cancer, one of the nation’s leading cancer killers, claiming about 50,000 lives a year. Overall, cases and deaths have inched down in recent years, thanks in part to screening tests that can spot tumors early — or even prevent them by removing precancerous growths. Colorectal cancer is most common in older adults, but the rate of new cases before age 50 has been rising. So updated federal guidelines issued in 2021 say adults at average risk should start getting screened at age 45 instead of waiting until they’re 50.