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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL)

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Legislative Update - February 16th, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dear neighbors,

It has been a busy week in St. Paul. Here are a few updates.

Wage Theft
Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and other legislators held a rally at the State Capitol to stand up for workers in opposition the practice of wage theft.

Wage theft occurs when employers refuse to pay for work performed. Additionally, this occurs when employers violate minimum wage, prevailing wage, or overtime protections, when employers coerce employees to work off the clock, when they make unlawful paycheck deductions, or when they misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance. Last year, more than 39,000 Minnesotans were victims of wage theft, totaling $11.9 million in wages they worked hard for, but were never paid.

This year, a series of investments have been proposed and reforms have been introduced to crack down on this practice. These include a $1 million appropriation to the Dept. of Labor and Industry to enforce current laws, establishment of a clear definition of wage theft in law, and an increase in the fines for willful and repeated violations from $1,000 to $10,000.

I am looking forward to working with the Governor’s office to advance these proposals.

House Rules
Tonight we are debating the rules that govern the Minnesota House of Representatives. Since whoever is in the majority sets the rules, these discussions are normally very uneventful. Unfortunately, over the last two years changes have been made to push out the public and silence discussion on legislation. This is a disturbing trend and I will be fighting to ensure the public has as much opportunity to weigh in the legislative process as possible. Our democracy cannot function when the public is shut out.

New Hope Liquor License
The New Hope Village Golf Course is seeking a liquor license to expand services they provide. I think this will be a good addition and I know many golfers in the area are eagerly awaiting its passage. So far I have not heard of any opposition or concerns so I expect this provision to go through the normal channels and pass.

Town Hall Meeting Schedule
I will be hosting several town halls in the through session with Senator Ann Rest or Representative Lyndon Carlson. The events are free and open to the public. See the details below.

What: Town Hall with local legislators
When: 9:30-11:00am, Saturday, March 4th
Where: Crystal Community Center, 4800 Douglas Dr N, Minneapolis, MN 55429

What: Town Hall with local legislators
When: 9:30-11:00am, Saturday, April 1st
Where: Crystal Community Center, 4800 Douglas Dr N, Minneapolis, MN 55429

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. As your State Representative, I am here to represent you.


Mike Freiberg
State Representative