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Minnesota Legislative Update, Part III: Regular Session Winds Down With Many Bills Left in the Hopper

s the 2019 regular session of the Minnesota Legislature draws to a close, lawmakers in St. Paul are deadlocked on the budget bill. As a result, many of the bills we reported on in our previous articles are stalled in committee or unlikely to see final action this year. The legislature must end its regular session on Monday, May 20, 2019, and it’s unclear whether there will be a special session. Here, we report on some of the most watched bills, tell you which ones stand a chance of passage, and provide updates on the bills we summarized in our two previous reports. Most of those bills are not expected to move to final action this year.

Previously Summarized and Active Bills

  • Paid Family Leave – F. No. 5: Second Reading on April 25, 2019. H.F. No. 5 remains active in the legislature. The bill seeks to create a state-administered paid family and medical leave insurance program that would require Minnesota employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits for qualifying family care and up to 12 more weeks for qualifying medical reasons per year. Under the bill, the period for which an applicant may seek benefits must be or have been based on a single qualifying event of at least seven calendar days’ duration, although the days need not be consecutive. The bill would create a funding mechanism through a payroll tax on employers and employees that would begin on January 1, 2021. The specific tax rates for employers would depend on which benefit programs the employer participated in, with a rate range from 0.114 percent to 0.6 percent.

  • Statewide Paid Sick Leave – H.F. No. 11: Second Reading on April 26, 2019. This bill, which would require that employees accrue a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year, is still under active consideration by the Minnesota Legislature. As noted in our earlier reports, the bill would allow employees to use the accrued sick and safe time for various reasons, including to deal with their own illnesses or injuries, to care for family members, and/or to address domestic abuse–related issues. Employers already offering paid time off benefits meeting or exceeding the requirements of the bill would not need to implement new benefit programs.

  • Wage Theft – F. No. 6: Second Reading on April 26, 2019. This proposed bill is still showing activity in the legislature. As amended, the bill seeks to define “wage theft” to include all situations in which “an employer has failed to pay an employee all wages, salary, gratuities, earnings, or commissions at the employee’s rate or rates of pay or at the rate or rates required by law, including any applicable statute, regulation, rule, ordinance, government resolution or policy, contract, or other legal authority, whichever rate of pay is greater.” The bill also seeks to introduce stricter recordkeeping requirements for employers, increase the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s enforcement tools (e.g., granting it the ability to issue subpoenas), and impose stricter penalties on employers for certain violations.

  • Equal Rights Amendment: H.F. No. 13 and H.F. No. 71. The Minnesota State Equal Rights Amendment (H.F. No. 13) would add a section to the Minnesota Constitution providing for gender equality. If ratified, the amendment would take effect on January 1, 2021. This bill was passed by the House in early March and is still before the Senate. H.F. No. 71, the “delete the deadline bill,” was passed 81-0 by the House on May 10. This bill contains a resolution asking for the removal of the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. The bill was introduced in the Senate early this week and referred to committee.

Status of Other Previously Summarized Bills

Paid Family Leave

  • S.F. No. 1060: Referred to Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on February 11, 2019

Statewide Paid Sick Leave

  • H.F. No. 29: Introduction and first reading, referred to Labor Committee on January 10, 2019

  • S.F. No. 528: Withdrawn and returned to the author on February 25, 2019

  • S.F. No. 1597: Referred to Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on February 21, 2019

Wage Theft

  • S.F. No. 1933: Referred to Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on February 28, 2019

  • S.F. No. 1816: Committee report recommendation to pass as amended and re-refer to Finance Committee on March 18, 2019

Sexual Harassment Standard

  • H.F. No. 10: Referred to Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee on March 25, 2019

  • H.F. No. 31: Introduction and first reading, referred to Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division Committee on January 10, 2019

  • S.F. No. 1307: Referred to Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee on February 14, 2019

  • S.F. No. 2295: Second reading on March 18, 2019

Disclosure of Information in Workplace Sexual Harassment Investigations

  • F. No. 798: Referred to Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division on February 7, 2019

  • F. No. 172: Referred to Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee on January 7, 2019

Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Preemption

  • H.F. No. 2776: Introduction and referral to Labor Committee on April 1, 2019, with no action taken since April 1, 2019

  • S.F. No. 2321: Introduction and referral to Local Government Committee on March 11, 2019, which recommended the bill’s passage; referred to Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on March 13, 2019; no action taken since March 13, 2019

Restrictions on Employer Use of Social Media Account Information

  • F. No. 1196: Referred to Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division Committee on February 14, 2019

  • F. No. 1432: Referred to Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee on February 18, 2019

Right to Work

  • F. No. 352: Referred to Labor Committee on January 21, 2019

  • No companion bill in Senate

Employee Immunization Refusal Protection

  • F. No. 999: Referred to Labor Committee on February 11, 2019

  • F. No. 1916: Referred to Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on February 28, 2019

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About this Author

Bruce J. Douglas, Ogletree Deakins, employers administrative litigation lawyer, Health Care Attorney
Shareholder

Bruce J. Douglas is a shareholder in the Minneapolis office of Ogletree Deakins. He has more than 25 years of experience advising and defending employers in administrative and litigation matters in the full range of both traditional labor and employment law matters. He has represented clients in a wide range of industry lines, including manufacturing, baking, printing, resorts and lodging, finance, security, health care, insurance, communications, temporary personnel staffing, trucking, airlines, railroads, and business process outsourcing. Bruce has extensive experience...

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Kathleen Hoffman Employment Attorney Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
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Kathleen is an associate in the Minneapolis office of Ogletree Deakins. Prior to joining the firm, Kathleen clerked for the Honorable Tracy M. Smith at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. During law school, Kathleen worked in the University of Minnesota General Counsel’s Office on a variety of employment law matters. She graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota School of Law, earning a concentration in labor and employment law. She served on the ABAJournal of Labor & Employment Law and represented children and parents as a certified student attorney in the Indian Child Welfare Act Law Clinic. She received her BA summa cum laude in anthropology from Wellesley College, studying abroad in West Africa and Eastern Europe.

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Brent Kettelkamp, Labor and Employment Attorney, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
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Brent is an associate in the Minneapolis office of Ogletree Deakins. Brent’s practice is devoted to representing both large and small businesses in employment litigation and labor law matters. He has represented clients in all areas of employment law including, FMLA, ADA, employment discrimination claims, non-compete/non-solicitation, and other various employment-related disputes. Brent also has experience representing clients in commercial disputes including, breach of contract, construction-related claims, residential mortgage-backed securities, fraud/misrepresentation...

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Brian Moen Employment lawyer Ogletree
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Brian graduated, summa cum laude, from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where he was awarded the Minnesota State Bar Association Law Student Excellence in Labor Law Award and was a staff member of the Intellectual Property Law Review. Before going to law school, Brian earned his Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and subsequently spent over six years as a Human Resources professional in both Fortune 500 and public sector environments. As an HR professional, Brian gained...

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