November 27, 2017

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Public Affairs Breakfast This Friday: The Minnesota-Canada Connection
Join us and the Dakota Regional Chamber of Commerce for December's Legislative Breakfast featuring Paul Connors, the acting general consul with the Consulate General of Canada on Friday, December 1 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Commons on Marice in Eagan.

Connors will discuss the unique trade and cultural relationship between Minnesota and Canada, and explain how Minnesota businesses can tap in to the Canadian marketplace.

Connors is a career Foreign Service Officer specializing in economic policy with a focus on natural resources. He has served in the Nuclear Policy Division, including as Canada's representative on the G-7 Nuclear Safety Working Group and the G-8 Summit Division. In 2016, Connors was appointed as Consul to Minneapolis to lead the foreign policy and public affairs team covering these aspects of Canada's relations with Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota

2018 Legislative Session 
Headed Into Final Year, Gov. Mark Dayton Ready To Move On From Long Fight Over House, Senate Budgets

From the Star Tribune, Erin Golden, November 26, 2017
"DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, heading into his final year in office, says he is ready to make a major concession to Republican leaders in the Legislature in order to win approval of several major initiatives on his wish list.

The governor said he will no longer insist that they repeal some recently enacted tax cuts and policy provisions in order to restore the House and Senate operating budgets. Dayton line-item vetoed those budgets in May, triggering a constitutional standoff.
He said he'll still fight against the GOP's tobacco tax reductions and other provisions he opposes, but he made it clear he's ready to restore the Legislature's full funding.
"I don't want to protract this," Dayton said in a wide-ranging interview with the Star Tribune. "We have the people's work to do."
Instead, the governor wants to shift the focus to issues like expanding prekindergarten access in public schools, passing a public works construction package and overhauling standards for senior care. "  

Minimum Wage Debate Takes Off In St. Paul, With Next Mayor Promising $15

From the Star Tribune, Dive, Daphne Howland, November 15, 2017
"Tom Stockstill capped his early morning Black Friday shift at Herberger's by joining dozens of protesters across the parking lot, who were chanting in front of Walmart in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood.
"What do we want? $15! When do we want it? Now!" he and other supporters of a $15 minimum wage yelled. For Stockstill, the change would boost his hourly wage by $5.50 and move him out of the "crackerbox" room he lives in.

A powerful coalition of unions, progressive activists and religious leaders are amplifying stories like Stockstill's. The group that pushed Minneapolis to institute a $15 minimum wage for all workers has turned its influence and energy to St. Paul. They recently called on Mayor-elect Melvin Carter to uphold his campaign promise of passing a citywide minimum wage by the end of summer 2018. Although Carter will not take office until January, supporters and opponents of a new minimum wage have been discussing it for months.

Service industry members are holding listening sessions, the nonpartisan Citizens League is preparing to study the change, Midway Chamber of Commerce had a minimum wage discussion with City Council President Russ Stark and the coalition of supporters kicked off their efforts with a September protest outside City Hall. Even a high school algebra class at Washington Technology Magnet School is talking about it.

Duluth Taskforce Releases Preferred And Secondary Sick-Safe Leave Recommendations
Last week, the Duluth Taskforce charged with making a city-based sick and safe leave recommendation released its 10-page report. The report included a mandatory sick and safe leave recommendation similar to policies passed in Minneapolis and St. Paul, along with a secondary recommendation leaving more discretion to individual employers.
From the recommendation document:

Provisions Contained in Both Options
"All employers with a physical location in the City of Duluth with five or more employees covered.
Cover all full time and part time employees (including casual, paid interns, domestic workers,
temporary workers, etc.).
Earned sick and safe time should be available for employees to use for themselves, spouses,
children (including adult children), siblings, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, grandparents,
grandchildren and step-parents. This follows existing state law. Minn. Stat. 181. 9413(a.) 
Complaint-based enforcement and a private right of action. 
City Council to determine what entity to enforce the ordinance. 
No additional documentation for leave beyond what may be required by existing state and federal
Employers who already provide substantially similar earned sick and safe time would be exempt
from compliance with the ordinance. The definition of "substantially similar" will need to be
determined by the City Attorney. 
Any ordinance would not go into effect for a period of 18 months, allowing employers time to
update their policies and systems."
Task Force Recommendation 
"The Task Force recommends that the City Council pass an ordinance requiring employers to create
a full earned sick and safe time policy with the following details in addition to the shared provisions above:
The majority of Task Force members recommend that workers start to earn leave upon hire and can use ESST either immediately upon earning or 30 days after hire.

Earned sick and safe time would be earned at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours
While the majority of the Task Force thought that there should be some way for employees to
rollover unused ESST to the following year, there was no consensus on how much the rollover
should be or whether additional time could be banked beyond a one-time rollover. Also, there
was no consensus in whether there should be a cap on how much ESST an employee could use in
a year if they rollover additional leave (e.g. if an employee has 80 hours available due to rollover
is there a limit on how much ESST can be used in a year?)."

Second Option
"Some Task Force members sought to create a second option from a full policy. The concept was
to create an ordinance that mandates a basic policy leaving more to the discretion of the employer. The mandated policy would include the shared items noted above, as well as the following: 
Employer would be required to have a written policy publicly available providing that employees can earn sick and safe leave of at least three days annually for full time employees, pro-rated for part time employees."

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Minnesota Retailers Associaiton
400 Robert Street North, suite 1540
St. Paul, MN 55101
Tel. (651) 227-6631 - -