MN House sends preemption bill to be vetoed

Legislation preventing Minnesota cities from enacting local labor requirements that deviate from state law is on its way to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who has promised a veto.

The Minnesota House passed the so-called preemption measure Thursday on a vote of 75-48. The Senate passed it a day earlier.

It would block minimum wage and paid sick time ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Republicans combined the measure with other labor issues that Democrats support, including a paid family leave benefit for state employees.

Dayton criticized the move earlier this week, saying it pitted “the earned financial security of hardworking state employees and retirees against the rights of local officials to make the decisions for which they were elected by their citizens.” Dayton added that he was standing by his veto threat.

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During the House debate, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, said he’s a big believer in preemption.

“This is a good idea, preemption, so we don’t have a patchwork of labor laws in liberal cities like Minneapolis making up things and holding the businesses hostage and making them comply.”

Several House Democrats spoke against the bill. They argued it is not the Legislature’s role to stand in the way of local decisions.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, criticized GOP lawmakers for trying to tell local governments what to do.

“This is Minnesota. We’re the land of 10,000 treatment centers,” Mahoney said. “You can find something to get over your issues of control and manipulation of municipalities, cities and counties.”