ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Who gets to decide the minimum amount of money you can make per hour? Right now, your local government can make the call, but that could soon change.
The potential for a $15 minimum wage and new paid leave policies in Minneapolis and St. Paul are in jeopardy. A bill is moving through the State Capitol that would no longer allow cities and local municipalities to make those decisons, and it would be retroactive.READ MORE: Nurses Complete First Day Of Strike At Plymouth's WestHealth
Late Monday afternoon, a senate committee voted to keep this bill moving. It would mean that local governments can no longer pass minimum wage or paid sick leave ordinances contrary to state laws.
“To single out this single rule is disingenuous,” said Eric Foster, who owns the St. Paul restaurant Ward 6.
The bill would repeal the paid leave policy Foster helped craft to benefit his employees. It would also mean local governments couldn’t enact minimum wage changes, like the $15 an hour wage advocates are pushing for in Minneapolis.
“For state legislature to decide to impose its will on cities like St. Paul, I think, is a bad idea,” Foster said.
Other business owners say the bill is a good idea. Take trucking companies, for example, whose drivers make stops all over the state.READ MORE: Sheriff: Man Dies From Suicide After Allegedly Killing Roommate, Roommate's Father In Northern Minnesota
“Now imagine what it would be like for the owner of that trucking company to track that driver’s hours and activities and then ensure he or she receives the right benefits according to each city’s ordinance,” said John Hausladen of the Minnesota Trucking Association.
That’s the point the bill’s sponsor from southeast Minnesota is trying to make. He says a patchwork of rules is confusing and time-consuming.
“Rather than rules and regulations, I’d like to see companies focused on growing their business,” Sen. Jeremy Miller (R) said.
It’s an opinion that was challenged by faith leaders and a union represenative in a hearing later Monday afternoon.
“It’s a vote that tells citizens local democracy doesn’t matter,” the union rep said.MORE NEWS: 2021 Is Minnesota's Deadliest Boating Season In 16 Years, Says DNR
The bill still has to go to another committee before the final votes in the senate and house. Then it would hit the governor’s desk. Those opposing the bill tell me they will continue to fight it as long as it takes.