Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B) – Legislative Update
Last night we debated the “preemption” bill on the House floor, which ultimately passed 76-53. This bill stops local communities from setting worker-friendly policies such as earned sick leave and family leave, or a higher minimum wage. The measure also rolls back sick time for hundreds of thousands of working Minnesotans.
This very controversial legislation is being pushed by national groups working to hold down wages and deny working families’ benefits all over the United States. I don’t believe that we should be rolling back benefits.
I am disappointed wage theft protections weren’t included in the bill. Wage theft occurs when employers do not pay workers what is owed to them for work performed. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) estimates that over 39,000 workers experience wage theft in Minnesota each year, averaging $11.9 million dollars of wages that are owed, but not paid to Minnesota workers. There is currently no state law that prohibits or penalizes employers that do not pay their employees for work performed.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Management and Budget Department announced a forecasted budget surplus of $1.65 billion. The February Economic Forecast revealed that Minnesota continues to have low unemployment and a stable economy.
While Minnesota’s economy is performing well, I am always looking for ways to improve our community and state. This surplus is an opportunity to reinvest in Minnesotans through strong public schools, affordable college, and access to good jobs and good benefits like paid leave and earned sick time.
For too long we have neglected our roads, bridges, and transit system. It has been three years since the legislature passed a robust bonding bill to invest in our infrastructure. It is time to push politics aside and put the needs of Minnesotans first. I’m ready to continue working with Governor Dayton and my legislative colleagues to build a shared vision of economic prosperity for all Minnesotans.
If you discover some unclaimed property and would like to share your story please tell me about it. I’d love to hear your story.