Minnesota House Passes Bill Requiring Uniform Labor Standards

Photo: KSTP/Jim O'Connell

March 03, 2017 07:43 AM

The full Minnesota House after a lengthy debate Thursday night passed a bill that would prevent cities from implementing their own sick pay and minimum wage rules.

The so-called "preemption" bill passed 76 to 53 after a nearly eight-hour debate.

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There are currently 22 states with laws that support state uniformity of labor regulations.

RELATED: Minnesota Senate Committee Passes Bill Banning City Sick Pay Laws

The legislation preempts ordinances, like one passed in St. Paul and Minneapolis, requiring certain sized companies to give workers paid sick time.

Supporters of the bill point out if all cities were free to create their own labor laws, it would be complicated and expensive.

They also state different regulations in many different cities would be unworkable.

Republican Representatives Jim Nash and Pat Garofalo support the bill but say they're pushing for more bipartisan support.

"If this bill makes it to Governor Dayton, he will veto it," Garofalo said. "We need to work together to pass it before it ends up in the hands of the court."

Meanwhile, opponents say the legislation would block important worker safeguards that the state has failed to provide.

DFL representative Melissa Hortman voted against the bill, stating passing the so-called preemption bill would be "a step backwards."

"Democrats are fighting for workers and Republicans are fighting for companies in this case," Hortman said.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a full vote.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he is not a supporter of the bill in its current version and says he will more than likely veto it.

Last month, state lawmakers heard from the public on both sides of the debate.

RELATED: State Lawmakers to Hear Public Opinion on Bill Requiring 'Uniform Labor Standards'

On Thursday, hundreds of protestors packed the Capitol to stand up against the controversial "Uniform State Labor Standards Act."

The rally was hosted by Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, an organization that supports the rights of minorities.


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