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Minnesota Legislature Gives Up on Bill to Preempt Cities’ Safe and Sick Leave Ordinances

In the waning hours of the 2017 legislative session, Republicans who control both houses of the Minnesota Legislature reached an agreement with Democratic Governor Mark Dayton on a budget bill  that removed from a provision that would have preempted Minnesota cities’ safe and sick leave ordinances and other labor standards measures. Instead, the preemption bill will be presented separately to Governor Dayton, who has pledged to veto it. Since the legislature’s regular session ended at midnight on Monday, May 22, 2017, and a one-day special session has been called starting today to complete the enactment of bills agreed to by both sides, it appears that the preemption bill is dead for this session.

This means that the Minneapolis and St. Paul ordinances slated to take effect on July 1, 2017, will become effective on that date. Employers should continue planning to implement the requirements of the ordinances. Employers should also keep in mind that both ordinances provide for a one-year moratorium on enforcement, during which time an employer may receive a letter from the city’s enforcement agencies pointing out deficiencies and requesting that the employer bring its policies into compliance.

A legal challenge to the Minneapolis ordinance that resulted in a temporary restraining order limiting its application to employers physically located within the city will continue to advance in the courts, with the case likely being taken up by the Minnesota Court of Appeals this summer. Additional legal challenges to the ordinances could be mounted on other grounds, including federal labor law preemption, but no such cases have yet been brought. We will provide updates and guidance for employers as the work to draft or modify policies designed to comply with the ordinances continues.

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About this Author

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

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...