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  • Minnesota Democrats In The Legislature Passed A Bill Over Republican Opposition That Mandates Minnesota Utilities Transition To Carbon-Free Energy By 2040. “The Minnesota Senate late Thursday passed a bill that mandates Minnesota utilities transition to carbon-free energy by 2040. The legislation now heads to Gov. Tim Walz, who said he will sign it. The vote was along party lines 34-33, with all Democratic senators in support.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/2/23]
    • The Legislation Required Energy Companies To Hit Benchmarks For Carbon-Free Energy Generation Before 2040. “The Frentz bill (HF7) would require Minnesota utilities to transition to 100% carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar by 2040. The energy companies would need to hit benchmarks, however, much sooner. Larger electric companies, like Xcel Energy, would need to have 80% of their electricity portfolio generated by carbon-free sources by 2030. Smaller municipalities and co-ops would need to reach 60% by 2030. By 2035 all electric utilities need to have 90% of their energy from carbon-free sources — a tough mandate for many community co-ops and municipalities, Republicans say.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/2/23]
    • The Legislation Grants An “Off-Ramp” To Utilities If They Could Demonstrate Before The Public Utilities Commission That Standards Would Significantly Affect Affordability. “Democrats included language in the bill that grants utilities leniency — or what Democrats are calling an ‘off-ramp’ — if they can demonstrate that the carbon-free standards would significantly affect affordability or reliability. The municipality would need to make their appeal to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which would grant or deny their request.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/2/23]
    • Under The Legislation, Utilities Could Pay For Credits To Offset Carbon Energy They Did Use. “Otherwise, utilities can also pay for credits to offset any carbon energy they do use. For small utility companies in greater Minnesota, some may be forced to pay for the credits by increasing energy prices of their customers.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/2/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Bill Into Law. “Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday signed a bill mandating Minnesota utilities to transition to carbon-free energy by 2040.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/7/23]
  • DFL Lawmakers Reached A Deal On A $2 Billion Environment, Natural Resources, Climate And Energy Omnibus Bill. “Minnesota is set to spend historic sums on the environment after lawmakers agreed to a package of policy changes and programs to safeguard air and water, plant trees and renovate crumbling outdoor infrastructure such as fish hatcheries and boat ramps. The $2 billion environment, natural resources, climate and energy bill that lawmakers reached agreement on Tuesday night is expected to head to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk after House and Senate floor votes. The far-reaching changes will touch much of the state — its farm fields, grasslands, peatlands, forests, factories and homes. The deal imposes one of the broadest bans on PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals,” and gives the state more power to punish irrigators who deplete groundwater. It provides money to taconite plants to filter out mercury pollution and new incentives for Minnesotans to buy electric vehicles. Some measures sought by environmentalists, such as a ban on lead fishing tackle, didn’t survive. Still, the Legislature’s actions this session — aided by a DFL trifecta at the Capitol, a massive surplus and an influx of federal climate money — earned praise from activists for its scope.” [Star Tribune, 5/17/23]
    • The Environment Natural Resources, Climate, And Energy Omnibus Bill Passed The Legislature And Included Credits For Electric Vehicles And Air-Source Heat Pumps. “But this week, DFL legislators greenlit $216 million in additional spending for energy initiatives, including roughly $140 million in new spending from Minnesota’s general fund and more than $76.8 million from fees charged to Xcel Energy for nuclear waste storage. The spending from both sources will pay for a host of rebates, credits and grants for things like electric vehicles and air-source heat pumps. Republicans have criticized the energy legislation, which was paired in an ‘omnibus’ bill with other spending on the environment and natural resources passed the Legislature on Thursday and is expected to be signed by Gov. Tim Walz in the coming days.” [Minn Post, 5/19/23]


  • Minnesota Democratic Legislators Introduced An Elections Package To Expand Voting Rights. “In Minnesota, Democratic legislators this month introduced an elections package that includes measures that would automatically register qualified Minnesotans to vote when they get a new driver’s license, give 16-year-olds the option of preregistering to vote and grant the franchise to people convicted of felonies as soon as they are released from prison.”  [CNN, 1/25/23]
    • Minnesota Legislators Were Moving On A Parallel Track And Advancing Some Of The Elections Package’s Priority Bills As Standalone Measures. “But Democrats also are moving on a parallel track and advancing some of their priority bills as standalone measures. A separate bill restoring voting rights for ex-felons, for instance, has cleared an election committee and is slated to be considered by a House judiciary panel Thursday. Its sponsor, state Rep. Cedrick Frazier, said he and his fellow Democrats don’t want to squander this opportunity.” [CNN, 1/25/23]
  • HF 28, A Bill To Restore Voting Rights For Felons After Leaving Jail Or Prison, Was Signed Into Law By The Governor. “Minnesotans who are on probation for felony convictions will be allowed to cast a ballot under a new law signed by Gov. Tim Walz on Friday. The big picture: The law, which was approved by the DFL-controlled Legislature in recent weeks, will extend voting rights to an estimated 55,000 Minnesotans who had previously been barred from participating in elections.” [Axios Minnesota, 3/3/23]
    • The Legislation Was The Largest Expansion Of Voting Rights In The State In Half A Century. “The Minnesota Senate Tuesday approved the largest voting-rights expansion in the state in half a century through a bill that would permit felons to vote again upon leaving jail or prison. […] Experts framed the action as the biggest expansion of voting since the 1971 ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. That action made millions nationwide newly eligible to vote.” [MPR News, 2/21/23]
  • DFL Lawmakers In The House Passed The Democracy For The People Act, Which Included Automatic Voter Registration, Allowed 16 And 17 Year-Olds To Pre-Register To Vote, And Created A Permanent Absentee Voter List. “The Minnesota House passed a bill by a 70-57 vote late Thursday that protects the right to vote and makes it harder to run political advertisements without saying who paid for them. The Democracy for the People Act (HF3) includes automatic voter registration, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and allows voters to choose to vote by mail permanently by getting on a permanent absentee ballot list. A similar bill is still working its way through the Senate (SF3).” [Minnesota Reformer, 4/13/23]
    • Senate DFL Lawmakers Passed The Senate Version Of The Bill. “In a late night vote of 34-33 the Minnesota Senate voted in favor of SF3, more commonly referred to as the ‘Democracy for the People Act.’ The bill overhauls several aspects of the voting process, and according to the DFL, makes it easier for every Minnesotan to cast a ballot.” [KTTC, 4/26/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Bill Into Law. “Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law (HF3) Friday that aims to expand and simplify voting and create more transparency around campaign money, among other provisions. The new law includes automatic voter registration, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and allows voters to choose to vote by mail permanently by getting on a permanent absentee ballot list. Another provision will require more reporting of who’s behind political ads.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/5/23]

The Economy

  • Minnesota Legislators Passed Legislation To Bring Minnesota Tax Code In Line With Federal Tax Code. “Gov. Tim Walz signed a fast-tracked proposal Thursday to cut more than $100 million in taxes for Minnesota restaurants and other businesses that got federal aid at the height of the pandemic. The tax breaks are the result of making Minnesota’s tax code mirror the federal code, known as conformity.” [Star Tribune, 1/12/23]
    • The Legislation Meant Small Businesses Would Not Have To Pay State Taxes On Federal COVID-19 Relief Grants. “Hundreds of Minnesota entertainment venues — from the Guthrie Theater and concert halls to movie theaters — received grants offered by the federal government to help venues that had to shutter during the pandemic. The size of their grant depended on their operating expenses. Minnesota venues got more than $300 million in grants, said Dayna Frank, CEO of the First Avenue concert venue in Minneapolis. The law signed Thursday means those venues won’t have to pay state taxes on that funding. […] Like the entertainment venues, the restaurants don’t have state tax liability on those federal grants under the law signed Thursday.” [Star Tribune, 1/12/23]
    • The Legislation Would Exempt Forgiven Student Loans From Minnesota Taxes If President Biden’s Student Loan Plan Is Allowed To Take Effect By The Supreme Court. “In August, President Joe Biden announced his plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers, while canceling up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants. But without the change signed into law Thursday, Minnesotans would have had to pay income taxes on the forgiven loan — for some, more than $1,000. The Department of Revenue estimates more than 600,000 Minnesota filers could see tax cuts under the new law.‘We know this student debt crisis is still hitting people like me,’ said Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL-Minneapolis, chair of the House Taxes Committee who sponsored the bill. ‘A lot of us are really caught in an economic bind related to this ballooning debt that people are dealing with.’ The new law eliminates that tax liability for Minnesotans if Biden’s student loan plan takes effect. That proposal is being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, with oral arguments scheduled for February.” [Star Tribune, 1/12/23]
  • DFL Lawmakers Passed An Omnibus Housing Bill That Would Invest Over $1 Billion In Affordability. “The on-again, off-again metro county sales tax to raise money for affordable housing is on-again. And it’s on-again at the right time, appearing in a housing omnibus bill agreement that was approved on a party-line vote by the House Monday. The Senate is expected to give its approval sometime Tuesday. It would then go to Gov. Tim Walz who is expected to sign it. (UPDATE: the Senate approved the bill on a party line vote early Tuesday afternoon.) The tax hike, which would raise $200 million a year for housing projects and programs in the seven-county area, is part of a $1 billion investment in affordability that sponsors and advocates are calling historic. It would be the first-ever tax dedicated to affordable housing.” [MinnPost, 5/9/23]
  • DFLers Reached A Deal On A Tax Bill That Would Send $260 Tax Rebate Checks To Minnesotans, Create A New Tax Credit To Slash Child Poverty, And Exempt Many Seniors From Taxes On Their Social Security Income. “Democrats struck a deal Wednesday on a $3 billion plan to send one-time tax rebate checks of $260 to 2.5 million Minnesotans, create a new tax credit they hope will slash childhood poverty rates and exempt many seniors from taxes on their Social Security income. Local governments also will see a boost in aid to keep property taxes down and help cover public safety costs. Not everyone will see a tax cut under the bill, and some corporations and wealthier Minnesotans will pay more.” [Star Tribune, 5/17/23]
  • Lawmakers Passed The Largest Infrastructure Package In The State’s History. “Minnesota lawmakers passed the largest infrastructure package in state history Monday, capping a legislative session where Democrats pushed through some of the most monumental spending and policy changes in a generation. They sent a $2.6 billion infrastructure package, with $1.5 billion of borrowing and nearly $1.1 billion in cash, to DFL Gov. Tim Walz for his signature. In the final hours of session, legislators signed off on the last piece of the infrastructure deal that directs $300 million to distressed nursing homes and approved a sweeping human services funding bill.” [Star Tribune, 5/22/23]
  • DFL Lawmakers Passed A $1.3 Billion Transportation Bill That Would Index The Gas Tax To Inflation To Fund Transportation. “Lawmakers on Sunday sent the governor a $1.3 billion deal bolstering Minnesota’s extensive transportation network over the next two years — an agreement that Democrats called “historic,” while Republicans fumed over a last-minute move that would boost the state’s gas tax. The House passed the measure 69-61 Sunday following vigorous debate. The Senate soon followed, passing it on a party-line vote with Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake, absent. If Gov. Tim Walz signs it as expected, the bill would index the gas tax to inflation, resulting in a 5-cent increase over the current rate of 28.5 cents a gallon by fiscal year 2027. The bill being debated on Sunday would also raise a metro-area sales tax to fund transit projects and add a 50-cent fee on deliveries over $100. The gas tax increase would generate an estimated $155 million over two years.” [Star Tribune, 5/21/23]
    • The Bill Contained A Number Of Transporation Provisions, Including Road And Bridge Repairs, Measures To Combat Climate Change, Safety Initiatives, And Investment In Passenger Rail. “But beyond debate over the tax and fee increases, the bill contains a number of wide-ranging provisions that would likely touch every Minnesotan. It includes much-needed road and bridge repairs, electric bike credits and other measures to combat climate change, safety initiatives involving public transit, freight rail and highways and a critical investment in future passenger rail service between the Twin Cities and Duluth.” [Star Tribune, 5/21/23]


  • The Minnesota Senate Passed A Bill To Offer Free Lunches And Breakfasts To All Students, Regardless Of Income. “Minnesota schools are poised to offer free lunches and breakfasts to all students under a bill passed by the state Senate on Tuesday. The Senate approved the free school meals bill on a bipartisan 38-26 vote. It now heads back to the House, where the bill already has passed but must be taken up again because its language was amended.” [Star Tribune, 3/14/23]
    • The Bill Would Require Minnesota To Pay The Gap Between Federal Funding And The Cost Of Meals Regardless Of A Family’s Income And Barred Charging Students For Lunch. “Minnesota schools receive federal funding from the National School Lunch Program through reimbursements for each meal served, though it doesn’t cover the cost of the entire meal. This bill would require Minnesota to pay the gap between federal funding and the cost of the meals regardless of a family’s income and bars schools from charging students. Students currently can apply for free or reduced lunch, but bill advocates say the paperwork is a headache for schools and many families who would benefit from free lunch don’t meet the strict guidelines.” [Minnesota Reformer, 1/12/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Legislation. [Minnesota Reformer, 3/17/23]
  • Minnesota Legislators Introduced A Bill That Would Provide Most In-State Students Free Tuition To Minnesota Colleges And Universities. “State lawmakers are considering a bill to give most in-state students free tuition to Minnesota’s colleges and universities. DFL senators proposed creating the Minnesota Commitment to Higher Education Act, which would allow eligible Minnesota residents who are enrolled in a public state college or university to apply for a grant to cover the entire cost of their tuition and fees.” [Minnesota Reformer, 2/21/23]
    • DFL Lawmakers Passed The Bill In Both Chambers, Sending It To The Governor. “A bill headed to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk would provide Minnesota public higher education without tuition cost to students whose families earn less than $80,000 a year. The bill passed in a Senate vote Wednesday, 34 to 30.” [MPR News, 5/11/23]
  • DFL Lawmakers Passed A $2.2 Billion Education Spending Increase. “More than $2 billion in new spending. Updated graduation requirements. Mandates on how schools teach children to read. The Legislature has sent a sweeping education bill to Gov. Tim Walz that partially delivers on a raft of promises DFLers made on the campaign trail as they sought to take control of state government. […]  All told, Minnesota schools will see $2.2 billion more over the next two years after legislators struck a deal that increases funding by 4% in fiscal year 2024 and a 2% boost the following year with subsequent increases tied to the rate of inflation.” [Star Tribune, 5/17/23]
    • The Legislation Included Measures To Improve Students’ Reading, And Provide Free Menstrual Products In Schools. “The Read Act, included in the education bill, requires districts to adopt a local literacy plan from among three programs approved by the state Department of Education. Until now, districts were on their own in developing their approach to reading. The bill provides $35 million for districts to train their teachers in those programs, as well as another $35 million to reimburse schools for materials bought since 2021 that don’t meet the state’s criteria. […] Schools will be required to stock bathrooms with pads, tampons and other menstrual products to curb what Rep. Sandra Feist, DFL-New Brighton, calls ‘period poverty.’” [Star Tribune, 5/17/23]


  • Minnesota DFL Lawmakers Passed A Public Safety Package That Included A Red Flag Law And Expanded Background Checks. “Driving the news: The DFL-majority House gave final approval early Tuesday to a public safety package that includes a “red flag” law and expanded background checks for private gun sales. […] What happened: Both measures were ultimately folded into the final version of a sweeping budget bill that includes $880 million in new spending for public safety and the courts, along with other police reforms and crime prevention programs. It passed the Senate in a 34-33 vote last week, with all Democrats voting yes.” [Axios Twin Cities, 5/16/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Legislation. [Walker Orenstein, Twitter, 5/19/23]

Health Care

  • DFL Lawmakers Passed A $6.2 Billion Health And Human Services Budget Which Included Increased Funding For Mental Health Services And An Expansion Of MinnesotaCare For Undocumented Residents. “The DFL majority agreed on a $6.2 billion two-year health and human services budget, which includes increased funding for mental health services; the creation of a state department for children, youth and families; and a proposal to allow undocumented residents to enroll in the state’s publicly subsidized insurance, known as MinnesotaCare. The expansion of MinnesotaCare will grant access to the more than 40,000 undocumented people estimated to live in Minnesota and meet the program’s requirements.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/22/23]


  • Minnesota Lawmakers Passed A Ban On Conversion Therapy. “Senators also passed a ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. All three bills will help preserve the freedoms of Minnesotans, said Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis. ‘People should have the liberties that are guaranteed in our Constitution. People should have the right to self-determination,’ Dibble said. ‘And in Minnesota, people should be free from the laws of other states that would impact and negatively affect all of those basic American rights.’ The House has already approved the three proposals the Senate voted on Friday.” [Star Tribune, 4/21/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Legislation. [The Hill, 4/27/23]
  • House DFL Lawmakers Passed A Bill To Make Minnesota A Refuge For People Seeking Gender-Affirming Health Care That Was Authored By Minnesota’s First Trans Legislator, Rep. Leigh Finke.“Early Friday morning, lawmakers passed a bill at the state capitol that makes Minnesota a transgender refuge state. Debate on the measure took hours, with voting happening shortly before 5:30, more than five hours after it was introduced. The bill, whose chief author is DFL Rep. Leigh Finke, the state’s first openly transgender legislator, passed by a 68-62 vote, along party lines. Finke says the measure is meant to protect transgender people, their families and healthcare providers from legal repercussions if they travel to Minnesota to get gender affirming care. [KSTP, 3/24/23]
    • DFL Lawmakers In Both Chambers Passed The Bill. . “Minnesota is poised to become a Midwest destination for people seeking abortions and gender-affirming health care, as some other states across the country restrict the procedures. Democrats in the state Senate passed a trio of progressive priorities Friday, including protections from legal repercussions and extradition orders for transgender people and their families traveling to Minnesota to receive gender-affirming care. […] The House has already approved the three proposals the Senate voted on Friday. The Senate bill sponsor said the abortion bill would be amended and sent back to the House for a final approval, but all of the measures are expected to be on DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s desk soon. The governor’s office said he will sign all three.” [Star Tibune, 4/21/23]
    • The Governor Signed The Legislation. [The Hill, 4/27/23]

Reproductive Rights

  • Minnesota Legislators Passed The Protect Reproductive Options Act (PRO Act) To Strengthen The Right To An Abortion In State Law. “The Minnesota Senate voted early Saturday to strengthen the right to an abortion in state law following about 15 hours of debate between Democrats who favored the measure and Republicans who oppose it. Gov. Tim Walz supports the bill — known as the Protect Reproductive Options Act, or PRO Act for short — and is expected to sign it in the coming days. It represents a key priority of the DFL, newly in full control of state government, which moved quickly upon assuming power this month to firm up abortion rights in Minnesota. The 34-33 vote, which came around 3 a.m., was party-line, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed. Republicans unsuccessfully offered multiple amendments aimed at carving out exceptions to full legality, including a bid to prohibit third-trimester abortions. The House previously passed the legislation 69-65, with all but one DFL member in favor and all Republicans opposed.” [Star Tribune, 1/28/23]
    • The Law Stated That Every Individual Had A Fundamental Right To Make “Autonomous Decisions About The Individual’s Own Reproductive Health” Including Abortion And Contraception. [Star Tribune, 1/28/23]
    • Star Tribune: Minnesota’s Legislature Was The First To Take Action And Spell Out A Right To An Abortion In Law Since Roe Was Overturned In June 2022. “Walz’s signature will make Minnesota the 16th state to spell out a right to abortion in law, and the first Legislature to take action since Roe was overturned last June. Voters in several states adopted abortion protections through ballot initiatives last fall. The Center for Reproductive Rights places Minnesota among 10 states that have expanded access to abortion, either through court rulings or legislative action.” [Star Tribune, 1/31/23]
  • Minnesota DFL Legislators Moved To Repeal Longstanding Abortion Restrictions In Addition To Passing The PRO Act. “Minnesota Democrats are moving to strip longstanding abortion restrictions etched into state lawbooks, the second piece of a broader push to ensure access to the procedure after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Their proposal would eliminate a 24-hour waiting period written into law for patients seeking abortion, as well as a two-parent notification law for minors and an informed consent requirement. It would also get rid of a requirement that only a physician can provide abortions.” [Star Tribune, 1/14/23]
    • The Restrictions Are Currently Not In Effect Due To A Court Ruling, But Proponents Said A Future Judge Could Rule Differently If The Restrictions Remained On The Books. “Those laws currently aren’t in effect since a July ruling from a Ramsey County judge found them unconstitutional, but proponents of the change say a future judge could rule differently if the laws remain in statute. A group of women opposed to abortion are arguing in court to appeal that ruling.” [Star Tribune, 1/14/23]
    • Democratic Legislators Were Moving The Bill To Strip Regulations In Tandem With The Bill To Codify The Right To An Abortion In State Law. “The bill to strip regulations is moving in tandem with another to add abortion as a fundamental right in state law. Both bills have drawn fierce opposition from abortion opponents, who say Democrats are using complete control of government to push abortion policies that would make Minnesota an outlier in the nation.” [Star Tribune, 1/14/23]
    • The Repeal Of Abortion Restrictions Like An Informed Consent Rule And A 24-Hour Waiting Period Were Included In The Health And Human Services Budget Passed By Lawmakers. “Minnesota lawmakers passed an 844-page ‘billosaurus’ Monday that leans on a $17.5 billion budget surplus to expand medical, dental and child care benefits and fund new shelter options to address homelessness. The health and human services budget includes priorities for a legislature controlled for the first time in a decade by the DFL, including increasing reimbursement rates and removing barriers to abortion services. […] The bill repeals long-standing abortion restrictions, including an informed-consent rule, a 24-hour waiting period, and a requirement that an abortion after the first trimester be performed in a hospital setting. Some information, including women’s reasons for abortions, will no longer be collected and reported annually.” [Star Tribune, 5/22/23]
  • House DFL Lawmakers Passed A Bill To Offer Legal Protections To Patients Who Traveled To Minnesota For An Abortion And To The Providers Who Treated Them. “The Minnesota House of Representatives voted 68-62 Monday for a bill that would offer legal protections to patients who travel to Minnesota for an abortion and the providers that treat them. State leaders have said they are taking steps to offer those legal defenses now but DFL lawmakers at the Capitol said it was important to guarantee the protections in law. […] If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill would prevent state courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests or subpoenas related to reproductive health care that a person receives in Minnesota.” [MPR News, 3/20/23]
    • The Senate Passed A Similar Version Of The Bill, Which Is Set To Get Final Approval In The House Before Being Sent To The Governor. “A separate abortion bill would enact similar protections, making patient data on abortions private and restricting subpoenas from other states that have banned the procedure. […] The House has already approved the three proposals the Senate voted on Friday. The Senate bill sponsor said the abortion bill would be amended and sent back to the House for a final approval, but all of the measures are expected to be on DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s desk soon. The governor’s office said he will sign all three.” [Star Tribune, 4/21/23]


  • DFL Lawmakers Passed A Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana. “Minnesota will become the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults under a bill passed by the Senate and sent to the governor’s desk early Saturday. DFL Gov. Tim Walz has pledged to sign the measure, which passed the House on Thursday. Lawmakers said it will take a year or longer for retail dispensaries to open, but marijuana possession will be decriminalized and home growing of cannabis legal as of Aug. 1.” [Star Tribune, 5/20/23]
  • The Governor Signed Legislation From DFL Lawmakers That Will Allow Unauthorized Immigrants To Obtain Driver’s Licenses. “New opportunities have opened for the estimated 80,000 immigrants in Minnesota who have been barred from obtaining driver’s licenses for more than 20 years. Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law at the Minnesota National Guard Armory in St. Paul on Tuesday that will allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Now, advocates say, more people will be able to reliably commute to work and school with driver’s licenses, which can translate to better pay to support families. They will legally be able to drive for errands and events, such as taking their child to a friend’s birthday party, something many people take for granted that was out of reach for some families, Walz said.” [Star Tribune, 3/7/23]


  • Minnesota DFL Lawmakers Were Optimistic They Would Pass Paid Family Leave After Years Of Opposition From Republicans In The Legislature. “Democratic legislators are optimistic they will pass paid family leave after years of advocacy and vetting — and opposition from Republicans and their business allies. The program unveiled at a news conference Thursday would allow workers to take paid leave for up to 12 weeks of medical leave and up to 12 weeks for family leave, after workers and employers pay a tax into a fund. The bill’s authors and advocates say the program would especially benefit low-income Minnesotans and people of color, who are less likely to have paid leave through their jobs.” [Minnesota Reformer, 1/6/23]
    • Senate DFL Lawmakers Passed A Paid Leave Bill. “A paid family and medical leave program that would allow all Minnesota workers to take months off work to care for a newborn, a sick family member or recover from illness is nearing reality at the state Capitol. The Senate voted along party lines to create a state-run leave program Monday that would enable people to take time off with partial pay. It would be funded by a payroll tax on employers and employees.” [Star Tribune, 5/8/23]
    • House DFL Lawmakers Passed A Paid Family And Medical Leave Bill. “Minnesota workers would be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and 12 weeks of medical leave under a closely watched bill that passed the House on a largely party-line vote on Tuesday. The bill (HF2) would bring Minnesota in line with all high-wealth nations and 11 other states that ensure workers have paid time off to care for newborns, help sick family members or recover from serious illnesses or injuries.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/2/23]
    • The House And Senate Needed To Align Their Two Bills Before Sending The Final Bill To The Governor. “The DFL-led House passed a paid leave plan last week that differs slightly from the Senate version. The two chambers need to align the measures in the next two weeks before the legislative session ends and send the final bill to Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who plans to sign it into law. The biggest difference is the total number of weeks a worker could take off. Under both plans, people could take up to 12 weeks to care for a newborn or sick family member or 12 weeks for their own serious health condition. But if they need to take time off to care for both themselves and another person in one year, the time off generally would max out at 20 weeks in the Senate version and 18 weeks in the House.” [Star Tribune, 5/8/23]
    • A Final Version Of The Paid Leave Bill Passed Both Chambers, And It Was Sent To The Governor’s Desk. “Minnesota will have a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance system beginning in 2026, the same year that payroll deductions will kick in to pay for it. The DFL-controlled Senate passed the final version of the bill Thursday, sending it to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz, who has pledged he will sign it. The vote came nine years after the first press conference by supporters of the bill back in 2014. It provides for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and/or up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave each year, with the total combined capped at 20 weeks. Workers would receive a portion of their regular pay while on leave.” [KARE, 5/19/23]
  • DFL Legislators In Both Chambers Passed A Budget Bill That Included Paid Safe And Sick Time That Could Benefit As Many As 900,000 Workers. “Minnesota workers would be able to earn paid sick and safe time and be covered by a host of new employee protections under a labor and jobs budget bill that the state Senate and House passed on Tuesday. The larger $998 million budget bill includes language that allows workers to accrue paid time off if they fall ill, face a threat to their safety or need to recover from sickness or injury. That’s separate from a paid family and medical leave program moving as another bill. […] Under the sick and safe time provision, an employee could earn up to one hour of time off for every 30 hours they work with a cap of 48 hours each year. So after six weeks, a worker could earn one 8-hour day off. Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul have similar local ordinances in place already. As many as 900,000 Minnesota workers could benefit from the change.” [MPR News, 5/16/23]
    • The Bill Also Banned Noncompete Agreements, Boosted Funding For Workplace Safety Inspectors And Increased Protections For Workers. “The labor bill (SF3035) includes a Democratic wish list years in the making that will affect virtually every worker in the state. The bill mandates paid sick days, bans noncompete agreements, boosts funding for workplace safety inspectors and increases protections for workers in nursing homes, Amazon warehouses, meatpacking plants, construction sites, hospitals and public schools.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/17/23]
    • The Bill Allowed Teachers To Negotiate Over Class Sizes. “Unionized teachers will be able to negotiate over adult-to-student ratios in classrooms and student-to-personnel ratios, which could include school psychologists, custodians, or other staff. They will also be able to negotiate over student testing beyond what the state mandates. The new rule won’t guarantee that schools will have smaller class sizes. Rather, teachers may now bargain over these provisions in labor contract negotiations with school districts.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/17/23]
    • The Bill Included Greater Protections Against Wage Theft For Construction Workers. “Wage theft and misclassification — being illegally treated as an independent contractor rather than an employee — is rampant in construction, and employers rarely face consequences. That’s in no small part because many non-unionized construction workers don’t have legal authorization to work in the country and are unlikely to take legal action to recover lost wages. Currently, workers who have their wages stolen must hire an attorney or report it to government authorities. Such cases often take months or even years to be resolved. Under the new rule, general contractors would have to pay workers their unpaid wages and then could take legal action to recover it from the subcontractor who failed to pay workers all they’re owed.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/17/23]
    • The Legislation Also Banned “Captive Audience” Meetings That Employers Ofter Used To Discourage Workers From Unionizing. “Employers won’t be allowed to require workers to attend anti-union presentations or any other meetings to hear about the employer’s religious or political views. The so-called captive audience meetings are often the primary way employers discourage their employees from unionizing and can be highly effective. Union organizers argue the meetings give employers an unfair advantage and violate people’s rights to organize free from interference or coercion.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/17/23]

DFL Lawmakers Passed A Bill To Set Minimum Pay Rates For Uber And Lyft Drivers. “The Minnesota Senate passed a bill on Sunday that would set minimum pay rates for Uber and Lyft drivers and establish greater protections against wrongful termination – or ‘deactivation.’ […] As independent contractors, Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t entitled to the benefits afforded employees such as minimum wage, overtime pay, Social Security and workers’ compensation insurance. The Senate and House passed the bill (HF2369) in the final days of the legislative session despite warnings from the companies that the regulations could cause prices to double and demand to plummet. Uber said it might even shut down operations in the state completely.” [Minnesota Reformer, 5/21/23]

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