Bill to Pre-empt Local Employment Regulations Advances

A bill that pre-empts local governments from establishing certain employment requirements for private employers is progressing in the House and Senate.
(Published Feb 13, 2017)

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A bill that pre-empts local governments from regulating wages, benefits, terms of employment, working conditions, or attendance policies for private employers passed out of the Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Committee on Feb. 6, clearing its first hearing in the Senate.

On Feb. 8, the companion measure was approved by a second House committee, the Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee, where it had been referred by the House Committee on Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance after a long and contentious hearing on Feb. 2.

SF 580, authored by Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), and HF 600, authored by Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), is a business-backed measure aimed at providing uniform labor laws throughout the state.

League expresses opposition
In a letter submitted to the bill’s authors, the League expressed opposition to the bill because it “is in conflict with the League’s long-held core value that local elected decision-makers are in the best position to determine what health, safety, and welfare regulations best serve their constituents.” The League does not have positions on the labor laws the bill would pre-empt.

Other opponents of the bill, including representatives of labor groups and faith communities as well as individuals, argued for local control over employment regulations such as paid time off.

Supporters say existing laws confusing, expensive
Proponents of the measure said existing law creates a “patchwork” of regulations that confuse employers and employees and impose expensive mandates on businesses.

What’s next?
HF 600 is awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, while SF 580 will be heard next in the Senate Local Government Committee.

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