St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bipartisan Jobs and Energy budget on a vote of 89-39. Though Senate Republicans refused to negotiate on provisions that would have improved our clean energy economy and the economic security of working Minnesotans, such as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act and Earned Sick and Safe Time, the budget does establish the toughest wage theft laws in the country while also investing in an innovative and equitable workforce.
“This is a bill full of good provisions, but there’s more we should have done for Minnesota’s working families,” said Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), chair of the Jobs and Economic Development Division. “We fought hard to make sure that those who count on wage theft as a part of their business strategy are no longer getting a free pass in Minnesota. There are strides in funding and promoting equity in our workforce, support for our struggling industries, and investments in innovative job-creating programs. We’re also delivering the dignity of work to those who would otherwise struggle to find employment. It’s not perfect, and there’s certainly more work to be done on improving the economic security of all Minnesotans, but in the end this bill is a compromise that does well by our workers.”
With 39,000 Minnesotans experiencing wage theft in some form every year, the wage theft prevention and enforcement provisions in the budget were top priorities of the House DFL this session. Wage theft will become an established crime under the criminal code, and employers will be required to transparently state in writing the rate of pay, deductions, and pay periods for their employees.
In addition to combating wage theft, the Jobs and Energy budget maintains the House DFL’s commitment to addressing the child care shortage impacting communities all across the state. This budget includes $750,000 in child care community grants aimed at developing new strategies to increase child care services, and an additional $750,000 is designated for training programs for child care providers.
Much of the Energy provisions proposed by the DFL House were cut in the final budget compromise, with GOP Senators refusing to acknowledge the growing need to invest in a clean energy economy in the face of climate change.
“House DFLers passed the Energy bill that Minnesotans wanted, including Governor Walz’s proposal to ensure that reliable, affordable clean energy would be the first choice for new electric energy production,” said Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL - Minneapolis and Richfield), Chair of the House Energy and Climate Division. “The bill would have committed Minnesota to a clean energy future and accelerated the rapidly expanding number of high paying clean energy jobs. Senate Republicans said ‘no,’ leading to the very modest compromise bill we have today.”
The DFL House proposals took bold, but necessary steps to prevent further consequences from climate change by building a thriving clean energy economy. It would have set Minnesota on a path to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050, while ensuring that electricity was affordable and reliable.
Highlights of the Jobs & Energy budget include: