We are in the middle of a special legislative session to finish up the state budget which began at 12:01 a.m. Monday night. Work was supposed to be finished by 7 a.m. yesterday, but some major legislation took a long time to be drafted. In fact, the proposed Health and Human Services bill was only finished this afternoon. This special session follows the Monday midnight deadline by when the regular legislative session was constitutionally required to end.
While we’re considering budget bills to fund important investments in our schools, health care, transportation and other values we all have a responsibility to take care of, some troubling measures are moving forward as well. Some of these are quite detrimental to working families.
In a bill creating new tools to combat wage theft, shore up state pensions, ratify collective bargaining agreements for state engineers and approving paid parental leave for state workers, the House Republican majority included language, in the very same bill, to eliminate local control with a “preemption” proposal. This would prevent cities from requiring employee benefits such as sick time, and would take it away from 150,000 Minnesotans who have already earned this benefit. This doesn’t just put competing ideas in the same piece of legislation; it is a false choice putting two very different sets of values for working Minnesotans directly against one another.
It doesn’t end here, though. In the state government finance bill, language was snuck in the bill which could deeply harm the ability of those who provide critical public services to negotiate union contracts. We’ve seen what has happened to the quality of life for those in the state of Wisconsin in recent years due to their anti-worker policies, and it would be a shame to put Minnesota in a similar position. This has the potential to hold back working families for decades, and I will vigorously oppose this approach if it comes forward. I’d also encourage you to share your thoughts with Gov. Dayton on this issue; his contact information can be found here.
Please keep in touch with your own viewpoints on the topics before us. Your engagement is valuable.