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Minnesota Senate Committee Passes Bill Banning City Sick Pay Laws

February 06, 2017 06:52 PM

A Minnesota Senate committee voted in favor of a bill that would require "uniform labor standards" across the state's more than 850 cities.  

The bill would preempt ordinances like one passed in Minneapolis that forces companies with more than six employees to provide paid sick leave.

Swenson-Klatt owns the Butter Bakery Cafe in Minneapolis and employs 19 people. He supports the Minneapolis ordinance that will soon require more companies to provide sick pay.

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"I already pay earned sick and safe time for my employees and choose to do so because it's the right thing to do," Daniel Swenson-Klatt testified on Monday. "It costs me about one percent of my revenue."

The bill would also not allow cities to pass their own minimum wage laws that set minimum pay above the mandated state wage. Supporters of the bill say if all cities were free to create their own labor laws it would be complicated and expensive.

"It would truly be a bookkeeping and compliance nightmare," John Hausladen of the Minnesota Trucking Association testified before the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee.

Hausladen said truckers often work in several cities in one day.

"We believe a better solution would be to have a consistent, uniform labor standards between jurisdictions at the state level." 

A Minneapolis City Council member defended her city's ordinance. We are concerned about interference in local decision making and interference in our ability to represent our communities' needs," Elizabeth Glidden told the Senate committee.

A House committee passed a similar bill last week, but it might hit a roadblock if it gets to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

In an interview on "At Issue" on Sunday, the governor said it unfairly benefits big business. 

"I think the bill needs a lot more balance added to it before it's even something I would consider," Dayton said.

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Tom Hauser

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