Minnesota businesses oppose family leave bill

MinnPost file photo by Karen Boros
Cam Winton of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

This of course comes as a complete surprise. Says Don Davis for the Forum News Service, “Minnesota businesses strongly oppose state legislation requiring them to join a proposed family leave insurance program. ‘This is MNsure all over again,’ Cam Winton of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce told a Senate committee Wednesday as members considered whether to mandate that many employers take part in a program to provide 12 weeks of parental leave and another 12 weeks of other types of family leave to workers.”

The Strib editorial board weighs in on the Jamar Clark decision: “The erosion of trust in law enforcement is real in some parts of our community and is rooted in incidents that predate the events of the night in November 2015 when Clark was killed. But Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau have shown over time that they are committed to improving police-community relations, building a more diverse police force prioritizing anti-bias and de-escalation training, and expanding the use of body cameras. Ringgenberg and Schwarze acted in accordance with their training and the circumstances they encountered.

A jihad on Walgreen’s? Says an AP story, “A Minnesota man accused of lying to the FBI about when he last contacted the Islamic State group was charged Tuesday in state court after allegedly threatening to ‘shoot up’ a Walgreens. Abdul Raheem Habil Ali-Skelton, 23, faces three felony counts of making terroristic threats in connection with Sunday’s incident at the store in Brooklyn Park, a Minneapolis suburb. According to the complaint, Ali-Skelton went into the store early Sunday and accused a customer of having a relationship with his girlfriend.”

Also from the AP this on police body cameras and the legislature. “More than a year into the debate over how to regulate law enforcement’s use of body cameras, a wide divide between House Republicans threatens to leave Minnesota without guidelines even as the state’s largest police department deploys the technology this year.”

Mega-malter. And we’re not talking ice cream. At City Pages Loren Green says, “For the latter quarter of the 20th century Minnesota wasn’t a beer haven. Big names like Hamm’s, Schmidt, and Stroh’s had moved out, and the small-scale craft resurgence was only just beginning. But as breweries moved out of state, one company kept Minnesota at the fore of brewing in the United States. Rahr Malting Co. has been providing beer ingredients from Shakopee since just after Prohibition ended. And its current expansion will make it the largest single-site malting facility in North America —maybe the world.”

You there, Winston Smith, show me your phone. In the Strib, Maura Lerner reports, “Two faculty unions are up in arms over a new rule that would allow Minnesota’s state colleges and universities to inspect employee-owned cellphones and mobile devices if they’re used for work. The unions say the rule, which is set to take effect on Friday, would violate the privacy of thousands of faculty members, many of whom use their own cellphones and computers to do their jobs.”

Uh, so elk are bad for farms? Dave Orrick of the PiPress says, “Minnesota’s plan to expand the state’s elk population in far northwestern Minnesota has come under scrutiny at the Capitol. Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, is pushing a measure that would halt the expansion of the elk herd until the DNR could demonstrate that damage to farms by elk was being fully addressed. The Department of Natural Resources has ambitions for the state’s elk population, which is currently estimated to be around 130 wild animals in the far northwest part of the state.” They couldn’t possibly do as much damage as the rabbits in my backyard.

Today’s a big day for water quality. In the Duluth News Tribune, John Myers says, “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will hold public hearings in front of a state administrative law judge Thursday on proposed changes in the state’s rules on water quality. The first hearing starts at 9 a.m. with a second at 6 p.m. in St. Paul, at the PCA headquarters, but also via video conference at the PCA offices in Duluth and Mankato. Anyone attending in Duluth or Mankato will have the opportunity to speak live by video with the administrative law judge. The changes officially adopt requirements by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to modernize water quality rules under the federal Clean Water Act.”

Also looking for “help”: Major League Soccer. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger in the PiPress, “St. Paul’s request for state help to complete a professional soccer stadium on University Avenue received its first Capitol airing Wednesday and will have its second on Thursday. The city’s request to the state, backers say, is minimal: permission for the stadium to sell booze, a sales tax exemption for construction equipment and a continuation of a property tax exemption for the site. ‘I think just in general there is stadium fatigue. But I think once members actually see the proposal, it’s pretty simple,’ said Rep. Tim Sanders, a Blaine Republican who is carrying the measure in the House. ‘I think this is actually kind of model legislation for a stadium going forward.’” Wait a minute. How many more stadiums are we expecting?

I’m guessing it wasn’t a titillating sight. Also from the Forum folks: “A rural Litchfield man has been sentenced to two years of supervised probation and ordered to build a fence after neighbors say they saw him doing chores and sunbathing outdoors while nude. According to court documents, from last May 25 to July 12, witnesses say they saw Larry Fiero, 59, sunbathing nude on his deck, picking up sticks while only wearing work boots, riding a lawn mower and bringing his garbage can to the road while completely nude. He was also charged again after washing his car naked in October.”

Let them who party pick up the tab. An MPR item says, “ … the Minnesota Senate is expected to debate a bill that would allow private fundraising to pay for a celebration of the reopening of the state Capitol. The three-year renovation project, which will cost over $300 million, should be completed next year. … The fundraising bill is authored by Republican Sen. Dave Senjem.”

May Beelzebub, in all his cloven-hoofed, secular humanist glory, bless these kids. Stribber Maura Lerner alerts the easily outraged about a new student organization up at the U of M Morris. “The newest club at the University of Minnesota Morris has all the earmarks of a college prank, starting with its name: ‘Queer Devil Worshipers for a Better Future.’ But in the past few weeks, some conservative websites have run news stories warning, as one put it, that ‘gay, capitalism-hating devil worshipers’ are waging ‘a war against conservatives on campus.’ The club, which claims all of seven members, apparently started in January when its founder, Reed Larsen, sent a campus e-mail inviting students to join.” You gotta love the Frank Luntz touch with that “For a Better Future” bit.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/31/2016 - 07:41 am.

    Elk damage

    Amen to the back yard rabbits. With grass unavailable under the snow, the ones in my own back yard ate just about every shrub I’ve planted over the past several years, including every single branch tip on a Mugho Pine, effectively killing it.

    Never having lived in the far northwest corner of Minnesota (still hope to visit, however), I can’t speak to the potential damage of 130 wild elk on local agriculture. They CAN do a lot of damage, however. In Colorado, elk damage to gardens and crops is a kind of reverse status symbol, much like owning a Volvo was in the 1980s, and complaining about elk damage to one’s garden is an almost-subtle way to indicate that A) you have enough leisure time and acreage to cultivate a garden large enough that elk would deem it worth visiting; and B) you live far enough away from the city that the elk feel safe and comfortable enough to visit your garden for edibles.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/31/2016 - 09:14 am.

      Who Needs Elk? How About the Deer?

      I live in a wooded section of Alexandria,…

      a VERY beautiful area,…

      but the local deer seem to have developed an extreme love of the flower buds of our lily plants.

      Last year they were VERY hard on my tomato plants, too (which I always thought tasted quite bitter).

      We haven’t had a blossom on our lilies (similar to Easter lilies but with different color flowers) for the past three years.

      Just about the time those big flower buds are ready to open, one or more friendly, neighborhood deer stop by just before sun up and chomp them right off.

      Luckily the stems are sort of pretty for the rest of the summer, even without flowers.

      That’s not to mention that there’s always at least one fox around,…

      for two years a grey, now a red,…

      that our most territorial cat insists on very noisily chasing off on a regular basis,…

      again, usually just before sun up.

      I love having the deer around the yard,…

      I just wish they’d stick to the very plentiful food sources out in the woods.

      As far as rabbits go, our cats seem to keep them, the squirrel, and the chipmunk populations (and an occasional garter snake) from getting out of control,…

      without ever managing to completely eradicate them.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/31/2016 - 09:23 am.

    The Minnesota Chamber of Commercial Cheapskates

    once again proves that it cares NOTHING about the well being of the people who actually DO THE WORK in this state,…

    nor about the health of the society in general,…

    but only about their own convenience,…

    God forbid they should have to face a tiny bit of organizational INconvenience,…

    even though they feel completely justified to massively inconvenience their workers whenever some corporate whim strikes them.

    When the ONLY thing you care about is “maximizing profits and shareholder value,” not to mention maximizing executive compensation,…

    you will ALWAYS and INEVITABLY destroy the base of customers who have allowed your businesses to prosper.

    The attitudes and actions of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce are the very definition of “penny wise and pound foolish.”

    The very best advice the legislature should follow if they want to build and healthy and prosperous State of Minnesota,…

    is to pay careful attention to whatever the Chamber wants,…

    then do the exact opposite.

    The Chamber will whine, but in the end, they will be MORE prosperous as the result of not getting what they want.

    • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 03/31/2016 - 08:34 pm.

      Amen Greg……

      Sunbathing, Elk, Family Leave…..it just doesn’t stop with with the anti party which is fathered by our Chamber of Commerce well-to-dos.

  3. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/31/2016 - 09:29 am.

    Dog Bites Man

    Wake me up when Minnesota businesses propose enhancing the pay pay and benefits of Minnesota workers. If we always listened to them we’d still be working 12 hours, kids and adults alike.

    Thou protesteth too much, in fact, that is all thou doth.

  4. Submitted by Bill Willy on 03/31/2016 - 11:30 am.

    Chamber Exceptionalism

    Take a look at the tables on the bottom half of this page . . . They list the number of weeks of maternity and parental leave and the pay rates employees receive in different countries around the world:


    As you’ll notice, there’s no country that provides less than the U.S.

    In Albania, for example, employees can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave at 80% pay for the first 21 weeks and 50% for the remainder and they can take two weeks of parental leave at 100% pay.

    In Finland it’s 18 weeks of maternity leave at 70% pay and 26 weeks or parental leave at 70% pay.

    And speaking of “MNSure all over again,” those economic idiots in Germany seem to think it’s a good idea to provide employees with 14 of weeks maternity leave at 100% pay and — “What?!” — 156 weeks (better known as THREE YEARS) of parental leave with 67% of their pay (up to about $2,500/month) for the first year and unpaid after that. And that applies to BOTH parents.

    But, of course, Cam Winton and the Chamber know better: Germany, in particular, is a stupid country filled with system milking slackers riding around on public transit (trains?) and in Volkswagens knowing nothing about what it REALLY takes to create successful businesses, thriving economies and jobs jobs jobs that pay enough to live on.

    And related to House Republican’s ability to govern (themselves) it’s nice to see so much Kurt Daubt and Joyce Peppin-driven progress being made at that end of the capitol again this year. They’ll be unveiling an amazing (and free!) maternity/parental/health care leave program that will benefit hard working MN families any week now, no doubt — right after they wrap up their work on (free!) transportation, wall-to-wall outstate broadband expansion and, of course, deregulated Chamber member tax relief.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/31/2016 - 11:44 am.

    Kampus Klub

    The U club Queer Devil Worshipers for a Better Future reminds me of the group in the Steve Jackson game Illuminati: Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow. It’s just something else for conservatives to get all whipped up about because, hey, they’re destroying ‘Merica.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/31/2016 - 01:07 pm.

    Chamber of Commerce

    Question – do they offer family leave to their employees? I am guessing yes. If so, they meet the standard of hypocrisy. Do as I say, not as I do. Here is a simple solution. If a company denied basic benefits like this for its low wage employees, then it cannot offer more to executives and high wage employees who have more job flexibility and income to work with. The government doesn’t need to support special perks for the elite, when they have so many to start with. Socialism for the rich is the ultimate perversion of capitalism,

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