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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 12, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


A number of bills I’ve introduced have started making their way through committees, and I’m hopeful they will be signed into law.

Help America Vote Act
I have been working with Secretary of State Steve Simon to pass the Help America Vote Act. Just yesterday I presented it to the Ways and Means committee. It was an easy ask: Minnesota wouldn’t have to pay anything to unlock $6.6 million in federal funds to upgrade our election system and improve our election security. Minnesota’s not last on very many lists, but we are in fact the very last state to unlock th is money. It’s just common sense, and I’m hopeful we will get this signed into law. More from the Star Tribune here.

Rep. Nelson and Secretary of State Simon testifying in Ways and Means

Wage Theft
Each year, more than 39,000 workers face wage theft by their employers, collectively losing $12 million in lost wages. From workers who are encouraged to stay after they clock out to help clean up, to employers struggling with cash flow skipping paychecks altogether, this issue is far too common. This is why my colleagues and I are working to pass policies that support workers dealing with wage theft. Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for the work that they do.

On Wednesday, the first bill was heard on this issue. If the bill is passed, employers would face harsher penalties for not keeping detailed records on the pay of their employees that they are required to keep. Additionally, the bill would give the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry more authority in enforcing wage laws.

First Floor Vote

Minnesota has some of the worst disparities between black and white citizens for unemployment, income, incarceration and homeownership. The first bill we passed this session by floor vote addresses some of those disparities.

This bill seeks to address racist housing history in Minnesota. If the bill passes, it will allow homeowners to formally renounce restrictive home title rules that have been used to prevent minority communities from moving into residential neighborhoods. These “restrictive covenants” were legal until 1948, but the language still exists on many houses. The bill would allow homeowners to attach a formal document to their home title repudiating the racist language, but it would not remove the language from the title in order to allow for future research on the impacts of racist housing policies.

Checkout the Star Tribune’s coverage of the topic here.

The Next President
Watching Senator Klobuchar announce her candidacy for President was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sen. Klobuchar, along with the thousands of Minnesotans (and some who flew from around the country) proved that Minnesotans are tough, and won’t let a little bad weather get in the way of progress.

You can always reach me by phone at (651) 296-3751, by email at, or by sending mail to my office: 585 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.

Michael Nelson
State Representative
District 40A