Bill blocking Minnesota cities from minimum wage hikes passes Senate

- The Minnesota Senate has passed the Uniform Labor Standards Act, which prevents individual cities from setting their own minimum wage and paid sick leave rules. The Senate vote was 35-31.

The Uniform Labor Standards Act, H.F. 600, passed the Minnesota House last month. Differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill must be ironed out in a conference committee before the bill heads to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Workers protested outside the Senate on Thursday, holding signs that read, “Thou shall not steal paid sick time” and “Protect local control” while chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.”

Democrats in the Senate echoed the criticism of the protesters, saying Minnesota cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wage and set their own labor rules. Republicans say businesses that operate in multiple cities need uniformity in wage regulations and sick leave policies.

Gov. Dayton hasn't said whether he will sign or veto the bill, but has voiced concern over limiting local government’s ability to write policies to fit their city’s needs.

H.F. 600

This act shall be titled the "Uniform State Labor Standards Act."

Sec. 2. [181.741] EXPRESS PREEMPTION; UNIFORMITY OF PRIVATE EMPLOYER MANDATES.

Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this section, the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given them.

(b) "Employer" means a private person employing one or more employees in the state.

(c) "Local government" means a home rule charter city, statutory city, town, county, the Metropolitan Council, a metropolitan agency as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 5a, or a special district.

Subd. 2. Express preemption. (a) A local government must not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, local resolution, or local policy requiring an employer to pay an employee a wage higher than the applicable state minimum wage rate provided in section 177.24.

(b) A local government must not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, local resolution, or local policy requiring an employer to provide either paid or unpaid leave time.

(c) A local government must not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, local resolution, or local policy regulating the hours or scheduling of work time that an employer provides to an employee. This paragraph does not preempt an ordinance, local resolution, or local policy limiting the hours a business may operate.

(d) A local government must not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, local resolution, or local policy requiring an employer to provide an employee a particular benefit, term of employment, or working condition.

Subd. 3. Local governments as employers and contractors. This section does not regulate wages, hours, benefits, paid or unpaid leave, attendance policies, or other terms of employment or working conditions that a local government:

(1) provides to its own employee;

(2) requires an employer to provide to its employee to the extent that employer is providing goods or services to the local government, and the requirement applies specifically to work performed in providing goods or services to the local government; or

(3) requires an employer to provide to its employee to the extent that employer is receiving funding from the local government or is providing goods or services funded in whole or in part by the local government, when the requirement is an express condition of the funding.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective upon final enactment and applies to ordinances, local policies, and local resolutions enacted on or after January 1, 2016.

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