December 9, 2022
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 17, 2017) — The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is proud to provide you with weekly legislative updates. It is vital to the success of our communities that each of us stay informed, active and engaged in the process by which our laws are created. We encourage you to contact your legislator to express either support or concern if any of the bills have an impact on you and your community. For more information on how to get involved, contact the Council or explore the resources below.

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 Legislative Summary
2017 Session: Week 7 in Review

H.F. 600/S.F. 580- UNIFORM STATE LABOR STANDARDS ACT

What is this proposal?

A bill relating to sick leave and minimum wage for Minnesotan workers has been making headway through the legislature, with fierce advocates on both sides. In the past year, several community groups have pushed for an increase in the minimum wage and paid sick leave for all workers in their jurisdiction. These groups have successfully changed labor laws in several cities. However, these major changes to business practices are being questioned by some business owners and current state legislators. The proposed bill would forbid local governments from creating laws that change the minimum wage, sick leave, work hours or benefits of their local businesses.

Advocates for the bill point out that the uneven application of labor laws across the state make it extremely difficult for businesses that operate in multiple cities. If labor laws differ from locality to locality, pay roll and employee operations would become unreasonable. In addition, they point out that some businesses, especially smaller businesses, may be pulled under from the burden of higher wages and benefits.

Opponents to the state’s intervention say that St. Paul and Minneapolis already have working sick leave laws on the books, and they are working well. They also say that state preemption would undermine the authority of local governments which are assumed to improve upon and adjust the baseline laws set by the state.

What is the status of this proposal?

The bill was introduced and heard in multiple committees in both the House and Senate, by Representative Pat Garafolo (R- Dakota County) and Senator Jeremy Miller (R- Fillmore), respectively.

In the House, H.F. 600 has been referred to the Ways and Means committee.The committee meets every Wednesday at 3:00 P.M. but does not have H.F. 600 on its current schedule.

In the Senate, S.F. 580 is in the Rules and Administration committee.
The committee meets at the call of the chair and has no meetings scheduled in the next week.

The bill has faced severe opposition from many community members but support from many business owners as well. In both chambers, the bill is nearing its final committees before being brought to each chamber’s floor for a final vote.

H.F. 874/S.F. 658: AFFORDABLE HOUSING FUNDING

What is this proposal?

Recent estimates have tabulated that the current homeless population is over 9,000 individuals. Unemployment, barriers to affordable housing and a history of abuse or mental illness are cited as high-risk correlations to homelessness. This bill seeks to address this issue by directing $4.25 million to housing programs over the next two years. These programs could solve the problem of a lack of affordable housing for many Minnesota residents. The grants also target at-risk groups such as those with mental illnesses or families in emergency and transitional housing after traumatic events.

The funding would be allocated as follows:

  • $2 million for long-term homeless support;
  • $1.5 million to populations with serious mental illness;
  • $500,000 for transitional housing programs; and
  • $250,000 for emergency services programs.

What is the status of this proposal?

The bill has been proposed in the House by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R- Cottonwood) and in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL- South Minneapolis). Currently, the bill is being considered in the health and human services committees of each chamber.

H.F. 538/S.F. 468: PERSONAL LEARNING PLANS FOR STUDENTS

What is this proposal?

The early years of school are crucial for laying an educational foundation to reduce the achievement gap and for our students of color to succeed. However, many vulnerable student groups are falling behind in the earliest years of their formal education. H.F. 538/S.F. 468 would provide additional guidance for these students. The bill proposes that if a student is not reading at his or her grade level, by the 3rd grade, their school must provide a personalized learning plan to get the student on track with their peers. This learning plan could include after-school classes, summer courses or programs to allow students to better connect with their culture.

In addition, the bill requires that high school students who are not meeting the state testing standards must be informed that public education in Minnesota is free and open to anyone under 21.

What is the status of this proposal?

The bill has been proposed in both the House and Senate by Rep. Drew Christensen (R- Dakota County) and Sen. Paul Utke (R- Becker), respectively. Currently, the bill is being considered in its first committee in both bodies.

UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS

What bills are legislators discussing?

If you are curious about what is being debated and passed in the legislature, the weekly schedule for every committee is published on the legislative website.

Simply go to the Legislative Website, click on either House Schedule or Senate Schedule, and click on Meeting Schedule or Upcoming Meetings.

You can also view a Combined Schedule for both the House and Senate.

This will allow you to anticipate when bills of interest to you are being heard and understand what legislators are thinking about during a given week. You can plan to testify at a committee hearing or meet with a legislator and discuss current events with them.

RELEVANT RESOURCES

Thank you for your involvement in the policy making process! Feel free to contact the Council with any questions or inquiries.
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