It’s been another busy week at the Legislature as we wrap up our regular committee meetings and begin assembling our budget bills. We’re also voting on important legislation to protect and support Minnesota workers during the floor session this afternoon.
Expanding Access to Earned Sick and Safe Time
One of the bills we’re voting on ensures that Minnesotans aren’t forced to choose between a paycheck and taking care of themselves or a loved one. Under this legislation, workers would earn at least one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. Workers can use this time to stay home when they’re sick, to take care of a family member, or for an absence related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that we all benefit when workers have the ability to stay home without missing their paycheck. This bill would make our workplaces, schools, and communities healthier, and I look forward to supporting it.
Securing Worker’s Compensation for First Responders
Health care and public safety workers have made sacrifices to keep the rest of us safe and healthy throughout the pandemic. Last year, we passed a bill to ensure these Minnesotans would receive workers’ compensation if they contracted COVID-19 or were exposed to it on the job. That provision is set to expire on May 1, but first responders are still in a vulnerable position. Today, the House will vote on a bill that would extend that deadline. Nurses, doctors, paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, police officers, correctional officers, and child care workers who looked after their children would all benefit.
Helping Hospitality and Service Sector Workers Return to their Jobs
Many Minnesotans who work at hotels, airports, event centers, and related businesses were laid off last year. Since many people are still avoiding travel and large events due to COVID-19, some of these workers haven’t been able to return to their jobs yet. That’s why we’re championing legislation to help hospitality and service sector workers return to the jobs they had before the pandemic.
Preventing Wage Discrimination
Wednesday was Equal Pay Day, an annual reminder that American women are paid less than men. For every dollar that a White man is paid, Asian women make 85¢, White women make 82¢, Black women make 61¢, Indigenous women make 58¢, and Latina women make 53¢. One of the reasons that this gap exists is that employers can ask job applicants about their pay history and use it to make compensation decisions, which perpetuates the cycle of discrimination. We’re considering the Preventing Discrimination Act, a bill that halts this practice and brings us one step closer to closing the pay gap.
Supporting Minnesota Students
COVID-19 has created new challenges for Minnesota students and their families. On Monday, I voted for a summer learning package that would help students recover from the past year and prepare for the future. It invests in summer programs for students of various ages, field trips and hands-on learning, mental health services, and more. These investments will help meet our students’ academic and emotional needs so they can thrive once the pandemic is behind us.
Make Your Voice Heard
Join Me for a Virtual Town Hall
As we reach the halfway point of the legislative session, I’m eager to share news from the Capitol, hear your questions, and discuss issues that are important to you. With that in mind, I’m holding a town hall next month! I hope you can join me virtually on Facebook Live on Saturday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m. Please share any questions you have ahead of time at http://bit.ly/April10Questions.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 651-296-3018 if you have any questions or comments that you’d like to share. I appreciate hearing from you.