With an agreement on the state budget in doubt – and only days remaining in the 2017 legislative session – groups are urging Governor Mark Dayton to stop any attempts to incorporate or otherwise pass a measure undermining local government control and revoking Minneapolis and St. Paul earned sick and safe time ordinances.
Minnesota small business owners joined faith, community, labor, and nonprofit leaders outside the governor’s office Thursday to urge him to veto any “preemption” legislation.
“Corporate lobbyists and other special interests have pushed many forms of preemption legislation this Session," said Kate Davenport of Eureka Recycling. "From earned sick and safe time to plastic bag bans. These policies restrict our local City governments’ ability to fulfill their responsibilities to protect their residents, and undermine the democratic process that allows for the voices of small business and community members to be heard. We ask the Governor to veto all forms of preemption."
Preemption bills passed by the House and Senate would outlaw any effort by cities or a local governing body to improve worker benefits and wages and give that power only to the state legislature. Existing city ordinances on earned sick and safe time would be wiped out – affecting some 150,000 workers – and efforts to pass a $15 minimum wage in the Twin Cities would be halted.
“Every worker who serves the public, in a hospital, a restaurant, or store, knows that if they’re sick, they may harm their patients or customers," said Madeline Gardner, a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "As a nurse, this goes against everything we stand for.”
The demonstrators delivered more than 60 letters from small business owners and a signed card supporting Dayton of his promise to veto preemption legislation.
“Paid sick and safe time was passed by local ordinance and it could be wiped away, said the Rev. James Erlandson of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul and the faith group ISAIAH. "We are here to remind Governor Dayton of his commitment to veto this legislation, and urge him not to ‘yield to temptation’ if another ‘deal’ seems inviting. For the truth is, the present House and Senate have no intention of introducing state legislation for paid sick leave.”