With only three working days left before mandatory adjournment, I anticipated we would be in session all day today. However, we only moved one bill forward and adjourned for the day.
SF 3358 Minimum Age Safe Amusement Ride Operation: Passed, 126-5. The bill allows 16-17 year olds to operate kiddie rides at children’s amusement parks and operate lawn mowers at golf courses and resorts during the summer months.
Last year Governor Walz’s Labor and Industry Commissioner varied from long standing agency policy and denied requests for 16-17 year olds to work at amusements parks, such as our local Paul Bunyan Land, as well as other similar venues across Minnesota.
When Senator Ruud and I became aware of this, we met with Gov. Walz requesting he return to Governor Dayton’s policy of allowing 16-17 year olds to work at children’s amusement parks. Gov. Walz was unaware of his commissioner’s action and indicated he would research the issue. After some delay the word came back – no – you will need to change current law. That is what a large bipartisan group of legislators that support SF 3358 and the House version HF 3720 are doing.
The administration’s action in this area put a large number of 16-17 year olds out of work last summer and if not fixed will again destroy many summer youth jobs again this year. Most of these young adults are already licensed to drive on our highways. Yet, they were not allowed to operate a lawn mower or a small children’s amusement ride. This bill now goes back to the senate. An earlier version passed the senate by a vote of 65-2.
Two other bills on the calendar were not so fortunate. They included HF 4374, a rate adjustment to the Child Care Assistance Program to ensure it remains eligible for continued federal funding and SF 3255 a Transportation Policy bill that last week passed the senate on a 67-0 vote.
Without explanation both bills were tabled and the majority leader moved to cut short today’s session and adjourned. Apparently, whatever took place during a lengthy recess called by the majority party resulted in them not being to stay at work for the rest of day. Much yet to do in the remaining 72 hours of this legislative session.