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Victory for Workers and Local Democracy in Minnesota: Governor Dayton Vetoes Anti-Democratic “Preemption” Bill Attempting to Block Paid Sick and Safe Time Laws Passed by Twin Cities

Last year, A Better Balance worked successfully with advocates in Minnesota to help research, draft, and win paid sick and safe time laws in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. In an anti-democratic attempt to undermine the will of voters and their elected officials in both cities, state lawmakers passed a bill that would have invalidated these important measures. In addition, the bill would have stripped all Minnesota localities of their ability to pass workplace standards laws—like increases to the minimum wage—to protect workers and promote economic justice. This type of undue state interference in local lawmaking is known as “preemption” and is threatening and invalidating local progressive laws across the nation. The New York Times recently highlighted the concerning trend and urged Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to veto the preemption bill that threatened paid sick and safe time and other pro-worker laws at the city level.

Last week, in a tremendous victory for workers, Governor Dayton vetoed the bill. This means that the Minneapolis and Saint Paul paid sick and safe time laws will take effect as planned (July 1, 2017 for all employees in Minneapolis and for workers in Saint Paul who work for employers with 24 or more employees; January 1, 2018  for workers in Saint Paul who work for employers with 23 or fewer employees).

Low-wage workers in these cities who do not have a single paid sick day will no longer have to worry that catching a cold could mean not making rent or even losing their job. The veto of the bill also enables cities and counties to continue standing up for workplace fairness on a range of issues.

Governor Dayton’s veto is a victory for our partners and allies at TakeAction Minnesota, who have worked so hard to make paid sick and safe time a reality in the Twin Cities. We thank Governor Dayton for recognizing the importance of paid sick and safe time for workers and ensuring that cities can continue passing their own protections for workers, especially in the face of an inert or hostile state legislature.