Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
It seems like a straightforward concept that should be easy to enforce: A day’s work for a day’s pay. But it’s not that simple for Minnesotans who are victims of wage theft. Juana Cinto says she never got her last paycheck when the day care center she worked at suddenly closed. Later, the owners reopened under another name. “We are still fighting to get my wages,” said Cinto, who lives in Minneapolis and hopes a small claims court will help her recoup the $1,025. “It’s very frustrating. I have to wait for pay for hours I’ve already worked.”
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate hope to wipe out city-specific labor rules, like the $15 per-hour minimum wage, in the name of protecting the state’s economy. A provision in the Senate jobs, energy and commerce budget would stop cities from requiring higher minimum wages or sick time for workers that are different than what is already in state law. The proposal would be retroactive to 2017 and would undo minimum wage and other laws passed in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The medication Claire Henn needed to treat her rheumatoid arthritis got so expensive she had to quit taking it. The price of Remicade jumped from $60 to $1,400 per treatment, and the St. Paul retiree could no longer afford it. Instead, Henn opted for less effective treatments like the painkiller Aleve and the spice tumeric, which is known to help with inflammation. Her condition quickly deteriorated. “I can no longer cut a peanut butter sandwich with a knife,” Henn said. “I don’t have the strength.”
ST. PAUL — Health care was a top issue during the 2018 campaign and Minnesota lawmakers have wasted no time detailing their ideas for improving the system by making it more affordable and accessible. The challenge is Republicans and Democrats have vastly different ideas on the best ways to accomplish those goals. Members of the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday, Jan. 16, pitched the idea that patients with better relationships with their doctors and a clearer understanding of the price of procedures and drugs would lower overall health care costs.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Republicans had high hopes this would be the year they would break the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s grip on the state’s constitutional offices. An open race for attorney general seemed like their best bet. But Democratic candidate Congressman Keith Ellison was poised to disappoint them, according to election results late Tuesday, Nov. 6.
ST. PAUL—Are Minnesota's rules setting pay on state-funded public construction projects a boost for skilled labor or a barrier for workers hoping to climb the employment ladder? When it comes to school construction, new research by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute found Minnesota's prevailing-wage law resulted in more local hiring, higher pay and stronger apprenticeship programs.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota has a new online tool to help outdoor enthusiasts plan trips to state and regional parks and trails. The Minnesota Great Outdoors website, launched Tuesday, allows park-goers to search a state map of parks and trails and compare amenities. "Previously, you would have to know which office or region managed the park or trail you were looking for. Now, you have a clear, easy-to-navigate launchpad to find all of the information you need to plan your trip," said Commissioner Tom Landwehr, of the state Department of Natural Resources, in a statement.
ST. PAUL—A Republican-led group of lawmakers unveiled a tax code overhaul late Friday that would cut Minnesota's first two tax brackets between now and 2020. A joint committee of House and Senate lawmakers met this week to iron out the differences between tax plans that have cleared their two chambers. Minnesota needs to align its tax code with recent federal changes, or many residents will pay more next year.
ST. PAUL — When the Minnesota Legislature returns from spring break, political mud season will begin with lawmakers having just six weeks to find agreement on how to rewrite the state's tax code. That would be tricky anytime, but it's even more complex this year with the entire state House of Representatives up for election and a wide field of candidates seeking to replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who is not running again.
ST. PAUL — The years-long task of overhauling Minnesota's way of licensing teachers has entered the home stretch. If lawmakers can resolve the differences in bills that have already cleared the House and Senate in a way that wins the approval of Gov. Mark Dayton, they can accomplish one of the biggest reforms to state education policy in recent history. "I hope the governor will see this as part of his legacy," said Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake, who sat on a school board for a dozen years before joining the Legislature.