St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota House is expected to approve a new Jobs and Energy budget today (HF 2208). It includes major House DFL priorities such as giving every Minnesotan access to Paid Family and Medical Leave and Earned Sick and Safe Time. Both priorities are inspired by Minnesotans who have told the Legislature that they are being forced to choose between earning a paycheck or caring for a family member, or themselves.
“We’re working to ensure Minnesotans have access to jobs with wages and benefits that can support a family,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “The Minnesota House DFL budget will improve economic security, strengthen our growing clean energy economy, and begin to address climate change in Minnesota.”
The House DFL Jobs and Energy budget includes tougher protections against wage theft. With 39,000 Minnesotans experiencing wage theft in some form every year, the budget would protect wages and hold employers who take advantage of workers accountable.
“Minnesotans are finding it harder and harder to get ahead, and they’re losing basic economic security,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “We’re taking bold, significant steps to improve people’s lives and increase economic opportunity.”
A lack of reliable high-speed broadband internet service remains a significant barrier for many Minnesota communities, making it difficult for students to learn and for small businesses to compete. That’s why the House DFL budget invests $70 million over two years in the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Program, the amount recommended by the Minnesota Broadband Taskforce to meet the state’s speed goals. The program provides matching grants which leverage private investments from internet providers to expand access across the state.
“My colleagues and I worked diligently to make sure we crafted a budget bill that helps working Minnesotans,” said Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), Chair of the Jobs and Economic Development Division. “This bill protects wages, ensures employees have time to care for their families and themselves, invests in struggling or innovative industries, and supports and trains our workers. This is the kind of bill that builds a stronger Minnesota, and I look forward to seeing what the Senate brings to the table.”
A cornerstone of the House DFL Jobs and Energy budget is establishing a pathway to adopt 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050. This transition would reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and encourage the use of clean energy alternatives. The budget ensures that electricity is reliable and affordable during and after the transition. New opportunities for utility consumers to conserve energy and save money by switching to cleaner electricity sources are also included.
“As one of the fastest-warming states in the country, Minnesota is already experiencing profound impacts of climate change,” said Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL-Minneapolis), Chair of the Energy and Climate Division. “Scientists have told us that we need to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the next 12 years to head off the most catastrophic consequences. This legislation is a step towards ensuring we give young Minnesotans the future they want and we want for them.”
Other major components in the Jobs and Energy budget include:
Minnesota Innovation Collaborative
Vocational rehabilitation services
Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative (DAIRI)
Protections against predatory payday lenders
Solar on Schools program
Electric bus grants
After the Minnesota House and Senate approve their respective jobs and energy budgets, lawmakers from each chamber will form a conference committee to reach agreement on a final version.