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Despite NHL agreement, state Rep. Atkins will go ahead with hearing on lockouts

The hearing will be held Jan. 23 to consider possible legislation concerning lockouts by groups that get public funding.

State Rep. Joe Atkins, a DFLer from Inver Grove Heights, plans to go ahead with a public hearing on the NHL lockout, even though a tentative settlement of the labor dispute was announced Sunday.

Last week, Atkins announced a Jan. 23 hearing in the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee to consider whether the Legislature should consider rules on lockouts by entities (including pro teams and orchestras) that accept public funding.

He says in a statement today that the hearing is still on:

“While I am pleased that the lockout is coming to end, I still expect to hold this committee hearing. We need to hear from the people who were affected by the lockout and consider if there is anything the legislature can or should do in anticipation of future lockouts. I will be meeting with the Minnesota Wild soon and will be eager to hear their thoughts on this matter.

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“Whether it’s the NHL, NFL, the Minnesota Orchestra, or the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, lockouts have been happening more and more frequently with groups who received taxpayer dollars, despite promises by those groups of economic activity and jobs. We have an obligation to taxpayers to find ways to minimize the economic impact of these lockouts in the future.”