Reporting Rachel Slavik
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — With the session officially ending on Monday, state lawmakers debated through the early morning hours trying to wrap up some of the most contested issues this year.
The House took up the issue of unionizing private day care providers at 2 a.m., Sunday morning. Debate lasted nearly five hours before lawmakers recessed until noon without finishing discussion on the more than 100 amendments to the bill.
This is an issue that brought many people to the Capitol, both for and against.
“That’s all the bill is giving us — the right to have a union or to choose if we want to have a union or not,” said Darleen Henry, of PCA.
Those in support feel unionizing is the only way they can bargain for better wages and benefits.
“This bill is going to give myself, and the other people that do the same kind of work I do, the opportunity to join together with one collective voice on issues,” said Lisa Thompson, a child care provider.
It’s estimated that there are 11,000 private daycare providers in Minnesota and opponents argue the majority don’t want to unionize.
“I am the only person in my business so it’s my small business and it’s not the right fit for a union model,” said Jackie Harrington, a child care provider.
They argue it should be up to an individual on how to run a business.
“It’s wrong to have 30 percent of the population of the daycare providers to make the decision for the rest. It’s wrong,” said Don Dickerson, who opposes the bill.
The Senate voted on and passed this issue earlier this week.
Another big issue that the House passed early Sunday morning, the K-12 education financing bill.
A couple key items, it allows funding for all-day kindergarten and increases the basic funding formula for schools.
It breaks down to an increase of $156 in new spending, per student.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill Sunday afternoon.