The Potluck

Legislature week in review: Lawmakers advance bills increasing labor rights, expanding voting rights, regulating PFAS chemicals

By: and - March 3, 2023 12:06 pm

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

With a bit more than 10 weeks left in the legislative session, Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers remain busy, advancing a number of bills including voting rights expansion, PFAS chemical regulation and protections against wage theft.

On Gov. Tim Walz’s desk:

  • Walz signed “Restore the Vote” legislation Friday morning, giving more than 55,000 Minnesotans the right to vote after the House concurred with the Senate on the bill just the day before. (HF28)
  • Walz signed a bill on Thursday providing $5 million in emergency funding to food shelves. The bill passed unanimously in the House on Feb. 9, and by a 60-7 vote in the Senate on Monday. (HF213)

In the House:

  • The House on Thursday concurred with the Senate on a bill to give driver’s licenses to undocumented residents (HF4). That’s headed for Walz’s desk. 
  • The House passed a bill allocating more than $200 million for various services meant to help end homelessness on Thursday. (HF444)
  • Election worker protection legislation advanced through the House Elections Finance and Policy Committee on Tuesday. Its next stop is the Public Safety Committee. (HF635)
  • A bill adding Equal Rights Amendment language to the Minnesota Constitution passed through the House State and Local Government Committee on Thursday. (HF 173
  • The House Education Policy Committee advanced two bills focused on K-12 education requirements Wednesday: One bill would require students to take an ethnic studies course to graduate, and another would require students to take a financial literacy course to graduate. (HF651), (HF1502)
  • A bill to legalize cannabis passed through the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday. This is its 11th committee stop: The bill has two more committee stops to go before it reaches the House floor. (HF100)
  • The House passed collective bargaining agreements between state employees and the executive branch. (HF800)
  • A bill to ban price gouging in times of emergencies passed the House by a 72-58 vote Thursday night. (HF6)

In the Senate:

  • The Senate passed a bill codifying Indian Child Welfare Act Language into state law by a 66-1 vote. The bill aims at keeping Native American children in Native homes as the U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to overturn identical federal rules. Its companion bill also passed through House committees and is expected to receive a House floor vote soon. (SF667/HF1071)
  • A bipartisan bill to modify the state’s mental health treatment services reimbursement rates and eligibility aiming to make such services more accessible and affordable passed the Senate Human Services Committee. (SF1615/HF1683)
  • A bill capping payday loan interest rates passed the Senate Commerce Committee and will go to the Senate floor. Its companion bill is going through House committees. (SF1635/HF290)
  • A bill strengthening Minnesota’s wage theft laws for the construction industry passed the Senate Labor Committee. Its companion bill is also going through House committees. (SF1988/HF1859)
  • A bill increasing the reimbursement rate for in-home nursing care by 55% passed the Senate Human Services Committee. (SF1830/HF2087)
  • A bill to increase the K-12 education funding formula by 5% for the next two years and then tying it to inflation passed the Senate Education Finance Committee and was laid over for an omnibus bill. Its companion bill was also laid over for inclusion in a later House education spending bill. (SF448/HF439)
  • A bill to increase funding and expand eligibility for the Minnesota child care tax credit passed the Senate Taxes Committee and was laid over for inclusion in an omnibus bill. (SF9/HF9)
  • A bill to provide emergency funding for child care stabilization grants and early learning scholarships passed the Senate Finance Committee and now moves to the Senate floor. (SF53/HF150)
  • Four bills regulating PFAS chemicals passed the Senate Environment and Legacy Committee and will now go to the Senate Commerce Committee. (Read Deena’s coverage.)
  • The Senate passed a bill to crackdown on catalytic converter thefts by a 40-25 vote. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence on the language before heading to Walz’s desk. (HF30/SF5)

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Grace Deng
Grace Deng

Grace Deng was a reporting intern with the Minnesota Reformer. They studied legal studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. The Seattle native has previously been a statehouse intern with USA TODAY Network Ohio and an editorial fellow with Washingtonian Magazine.

Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues.