Legislature advances bill to preempt local paid leave ordinances

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Minnesota State Capitol

For the Star Tribune, Erin Golden writes: “A bill aimed at repealing Minneapolis and St. Paul’s new paid sick leave ordinances — and preventing other Minnesota cities from passing their own labor rules — cleared a first hurdle in the Minnesota Legislature on Thursday. The proposal, introduced by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, would prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that would mandate a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave or other types of leave or requirements about scheduling workers.”

Someone’s feeling empowered. Also in the Strib, Miguel Otaroia says, “Two Somali Muslim women said they were verbally harassed because of their religion and nationality Saturday by two employees and a customer at a Smashburger restaurant in Edina. … They ordered milkshakes, paid for them and waited. When they asked about the status of their order, Abdi said, they were met with hostility by a female employee and the restaurant’s assistant manager. According to Abdi, the assistant manager told them, ‘Welcome to America,’ and that ‘You think you’re better than other people’ because they were Somali.”

We gotta get back to drilling. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes, “While efforts are underway in Washington and St. Paul to roll-back solar and wind energy efforts and return to a coal-and-oil future for domestic energy, a Minnesota group says renewable energy is creating thousands of jobs in the state. Minnesota now has more than 100 companies serving wind power and solar energy markets in manufacturing, financing, designing, engineering, installing and maintaining renewable energy projects, according to a study released Thursday by the Environmental Law & Policy Center. The report identified 82 companies involved in the solar power supply chain and 49 companies involved in the wind energy supply chain.”

It was only 21 years ago. KARE-TV has a clip up of “the Coldest Night Ever.” “On February 2, 1996, two Minnesota towns had their sights set on breaking the state’s all-time record low temperature. Supporters in Tower and Embarrass kept track throughout the historically cold day hoping their respective cities would win the battle to the bottom of the thermostats. A spot near Tower, in St. Louis County, claimed the frozen victory at -60 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Department of Natural Resources.”

Interesting story from Ted Haller at KMSP-TV. “A Minnesota company is fighting with a German company over money, and the issue of war crimes. Orbital ATK, based in Minnesota, and Heckler & Koch, based in Germany, worked together on a weapon for the military that allows soldiers to fire a 25mm round that explodes at a preset distance. The weapon, called the XM25, is intended to target enemies who are hiding, like behind a brick wall. However, the project started to go sour with delays in shipments. ATK accused H&K of delays, and H&K raised concerns about the weapon possibly violating international laws of war.” That is an oxymoron, right?

This from David Pitt of the AP, “A Minnesota federal judge must hold hearings to determine whether a proposed settlement for about 100 million Target customers who were victims of a 2013 security breach treats all customers fairly, a federal appeals court says. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in an opinion filed Wednesday that Judge Paul Magnuson must review the class certification he approved in November 2015. Under the settlement, Minneapolis-based Target must establish a $10 million fund. Consumers can claim up to $10,000 if they can document unreimbursed losses.”

Healthy, for some. At MPR Mark Zdechlik reports, “A study by Minnesota Community Measurement found Minnesotans who are white and who live in the Twin Cities area tend to be healthier than residents of rural Minnesota. The third annual health equity study indicates American Indians and African Americans had the worst health outcomes. ‘Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation,’ said Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement. ‘But, at the same time, we have some clear and persistent inequities in health outcomes for people and our medical groups across the state.’”

File under “Inevitable.” Tim Pugmire at MPR says, “Legislation introduced Thursday in the Minnesota House would significantly restructure the governing body of U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The bill would expand the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) board from five to seven members. The governor would appoint one member, the mayor of Minneapolis would appoint one member and the Minnesota Legislature would appoint the rest. The board chair would be elected, rather than an appointee of the governor. The board would also hire an executive director.”

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/03/2017 - 07:43 am.

    Sick leave and minimum wage

    “…The proposal, introduced by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, would prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that would mandate a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave or other types of leave or requirements about scheduling workers.”

    One more in a very lengthy list of instances where “small-government” Republicans decide that “big government” is OK after all, if it suits their purposes.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/03/2017 - 09:23 am.

      It’s a Garofalo specialty…

      We had a concealed carry permit system where the locally elected Sheriff made the call: essentially at the smallest, and “local-est” level of government. When Garofalo did not get the answers he wanted, did he see electoral change at that local level as the solution? No, that’s just conservative babble that they like to spout and hear. The reality is they go to the lowest level and work their way back to the top until they get the answer they want. Which is why they have no problem with President Trump and related baggage. See you at the prayer breakfast!!!!

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 02/03/2017 - 08:09 am.

    Shocking, just shocking

    A bill to increase the size and cost of gov’t (MSFC) introduced by those “small gov’t, less regulation” Republicans.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/03/2017 - 09:06 am.

    To Accomplish What?

    What do the Republicans think they are going to accomplish by pre-empting local employment ordinances? How will this benefit their constituents?

    This is nothing more than an “in your face” gesture to the big, evil cities. Republican majorities are not about governance, they are about payback for perceived slights from the elites.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 02/03/2017 - 10:15 am.

      common sense

      If your business has more than one location across several zip codes and every one of those zip codes has an arbitrary set of wage and employment laws that it becomes confusing, costly and not very effective.

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/03/2017 - 11:02 am.

        Confusing and costly

        Just guessing, but if your business has multiple locations across several zip codes, each of which have a different (not arbitrary, since they’ve been approved by local government: i.e., local voters) set of wage and employments laws, it’s probably prosperous enough to hire an accountant, or maybe contract with an accounting firm, and part of your contract with that accountant or firm would be – if you’re savvy enough to have a business prosperous enough to require their services – that they’d be responsible for keeping track of, and making sure your company policies complied with, all the differences in local ordinances, confusing or not. I also suspect you’d be able to deduct the cost of this “keeping track” of local differences from your company’s taxes as a “business expense,” so at the end of the day, it would cost you little or nothing.

        And, of course, these little quirky differences, annoying as they might be, are the essence of “local control,” and should thus be dear to the heart of conservatives. Democracy in action, as it were…

      • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 02/03/2017 - 11:05 am.

        Don’t republican businesses have

        Computers to figure out payroll and employment issues? Still using an abacus? Or how about raising the minimum wage to a living wage in all of MN?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/03/2017 - 11:09 am.

        Somehow, I Doubt that’s the Motive

        The GOP gives lip service to local control, but isn’t too keen on it when it is used in a way that impacts one of their constituencies.

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 02/03/2017 - 12:02 pm.


        Conservatives use exactly the opposite argument against unionization saying that each employee should negotiate their own contract. One would think that 100’s of individual contracts would be more difficult to manage than “several zip codes,” right?

        Of course we all know this is one of those arguments where Conservatives are using what John Stewart says in the New American Language as decreed by President Trump: Bovine Excrement.

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 02/03/2017 - 10:03 am.

    “Local Interference”

    If Frank Luntz were a leftie, that’s what he’d call this radical power grab by the GOP. But Luntz is a rightie, so it’s called “pre-emption.”

    Let’s call it what it is: local interference.

    So much for limiting the power of those evil legislators that meet in Saint Paul.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/03/2017 - 01:51 pm.

    Actually, it’s the Minneapolis or Twin Cities business community that has requested, and drawn up, this bill to prevent any Minnesota city from improving the working lives of hourly wage earners. It’s not the Republican party per se. Garofalo’s just carrying the ball for business–mostly big business, which is fully capable of performing the accounting necessary. It’s not rocket science, anyway.

    It’s the big Minneapolis retail community–think Target, and the banks–that don’t pay hourly workers well or provide decent benefits.

    But the GOP really doesn’t like Minneapolis or St. Paul or Duluth or Rochester (or any city of any size), so they’ll go along with what the Chamber of Commerce and Minneapolis’s Downtown Council, et al., propose.

  6. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 02/03/2017 - 11:52 pm.

    Paid leave

    People get sick. When they are sick, they should not be pressured to work, as that creates an unsafe work environment for other staff and customers. Rather than harrassing local governments, which they hate when the Feds to it to them, they should pass a state law providing a minimum days if paid leave.

    If it was three or four hours per month for a full time employee, not a big burden. For a $10 and hour employee, about $500 per year. If you don’t to that, then it is time to publicize companies that offer this benefit, and let consumers choose who they do business with. Don’t treat your people humanly and risk losing business. You can do the math!

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