Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Congrats to the Andover girls hockey team on a great regular season in which they finished atop their conference with a 15-0 conference record and a 20-4 overall record. They play their first playoff game at home against St. Francis/North Branch tonight at 5pm. Best of luck to the Huskies!
As this week wraps up, I wanted to send out a quick email update filling you in on my efforts to secure funding to clean up the WDE landfill in Andover, my data breach bill, and a bill pertaining to sexual harassment.
The bill I have been working on to secure full funding to permanently clean up the WDE landfill in Andover continues to work its way through the legislative process. The bill containing the remaining $4.3 million to start the clean-up project was approved by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division yesterday. One final committee stop remains before this bill can come before the entire House of Representatives for a vote.
In order for this site to be cleaned up in 2019, a bill providing the remaining $4.3 million that is required must be signed into law by the end of February. With only a few weeks before this deadline, I’ll continue to work with the House Democrat majority and legislators in the Senate to make sure this legislation is approved in each body and sent to the governor as soon as possible.
As many of you know, this is an incredibly important project and the possible danger of leaking hazardous contaminants from this site continues to threaten the health and safety of our communities. I will be sure to keep you informed of any developments on this issue in the coming weeks.
Data Breach Bill
Last week I discussed my bill to modify state law surrounding data breaches. My bill would ensure proper notification to individuals affected by data breaches in order to best protect the personal data of Minnesotans. Earlier this week, this bill was set aside to possibly be included in a larger bill addressing data privacy later in the legislative session. I will continue working with the Democrat majority to keep this bill alive, and will let you know of any additional action going forward.
Sexual Harassment Bill
Yesterday the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division heard legislation to address workplace sexual harassment. The proposed bill would change the definition of sexual harassment to clarify that sexually offensive behavior does not need to be “severe or pervasive” in order for it to be subject to lawsuits.
Making this change to the legal definition of sexual harassment is the main component of this legislation. I have some concerns about this change and I am continuing to learn more about this language and what potential effects it would have. One of my concerns is that this bill would upend and ignore over three decades of case law and precedents that have been set on this issue – without providing a clear new standard. By removing the “severe or pervasive” language, this bill has the potential to let a case move forward if an employee was offended without considering anything else. I also have concerns that this legislation could lead to small businesses getting tied up in frivolous lawsuits and racking up unaffordable legal costs.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable, and we all share the goal of putting an end to it. Employees deserve to be protected from sexual harassment at work and I am committed to working with my colleagues to determine the best approach to doing this. As we explore our options, it is important that we take a balanced approach that considers both the victim and the accused, and ensures small businesses doing right by their sexual harassment policies are able to avoid frivolous lawsuits and are treated fairly under the law.
Please Contact Me
Please don’t hesitate to call or email my office if you have any questions or thoughts on any issue. If you would like to get in touch, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-296-4231.
Have a great weekend,