The Potluck

Legislative week in review: Paid sick leave, nursing staffing levels and sports betting

By: - March 17, 2023 3:32 pm

Photo courtesy Minnesota House Information Services.

Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law on Friday that provides free school breakfast and lunch to all students in Minnesota (at schools in the National School Lunch Program). Walz signed the bill at Webster Elementary in Minneapolis.

“This bill puts us one step closer to making Minnesota the best state for kids to grow up, and I am grateful to all of the legislators and advocates for making it happen,” Walz said.

Here are other important moves at the Capitol:

  • Walz signed into law a bill (HF30) aimed at curbing catalytic converter thefts by making it harder for scrap yards to buy stolen ones.
  • The Senate did not pass $1.5 billion in public works and infrastructure spending because there weren’t enough Republican votes. Issuing general obligation bonds requires a legislative supermajority, and Republicans said the bonds needed to be paired with tax cuts.
  • Republicans tried again to bring the tax cut on Social Security benefits bill (HF300/SF15) out of committee for a floor vote but were unsuccessful. Notably, Rep. Dan Wolgamott, DFL-St. Cloud, voted yay. The bill has been heard in the taxes committee, which wants to also consider other options for possible inclusion in a larger tax bill. The Senate voted to pull the bill from committee for a potential vote on the floor.
  • The House passed $50 million in funding for emergency rental assistance and homelessness prevention (HF1440/SF1367). The full Senate has not yet voted on it.
  • The Read Act (HF629/SF1273), which would require schools to use evidence-based literacy curriculum approved by the Department of Education, passed the Senate Education Policy committee and was laid over in the House Education Finance committee.
  • A bill (HF19) requiring employers to provide paid sick leave passed the Senate Human Services Committee (just realizing the Senate has a “Health and Human Services Committee” and a “Human Services Committee.”) It has already passed the House.
  • A bill (HF2290) banning no-knock warrants passed the House public safety committee. The bill is authored by Rep. Brion Curran, DFL-Vadnais Heights, who is a former police officer and Chisago County sheriff.
  • The Keeping Nurses At The Bedside Act (HF1700/SF1561), which would give hospital nurses greater say over staffing levels, passed the House health committee and the Senate Labor Committee.
  • Legalizing sports betting (HF2000/SF1949) passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Cannabis legalization (HF100/SF73) advanced through its 13th committee — Transportation — on Wednesday. The bill goes back to the House commerce committee next. The bill also passed the Senate local government committee.
  • A suite of changes to renter-landlord law cleared the House housing committee. The bill (HF917) includes a ban on rental assistance discrimination and a requirement that landlords give tenants 14 days notice before filing an eviction action.
  • A bill (HF23/SF207) with more workplace protections for meat processing workers passed the Senate Labor Committee and the House judiciary committee.
  • A bill (HF36/SF58) with more workplace protections for warehouse workers passed the Senate Labor Committee.
  • New regulations on construction contractors aimed at curbing wage theft (HF1859/SF1988) passed the House and Senate judiciary committees.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.