MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are talking about a plan to give paid family leave to all working Minnesotans. House Democrats passed a similar measure last year, but it went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

It’s possible this year could see the same outcome, but there are a few key differences.

Democrats have pointed out that President Donald Trump has repeatedly mentioned paid family leave as a priority, and federal workers under his administration have gotten paid leave.
Democrats are asking if it good enough for Trump, why isn’t it good enough for Minnesota Republicans?

The other major difference is that the entire legislature is up for election.

The proposal would be paid for with a 0.6% payroll tax that would be split between employers and employees. That would create a $1.35 billion state fund that would allow the state to administer the paid leave fund.

It would cover a wide range of medical issues.

“It would cover people who are bringing a new baby into their family, through birth or adoption. It would also cover other health issues that people face people — have a cancer diagnosis, people have a slip and fall on the ice here in Minnesota, which are very real issues for folks,” Democratic Rep. Laurie Halverson, also the House Commerce Committee Chair, said.

Republicans pushed back hard last year and they are already this year as well.

“Well the way they are presenting it, its a no from us. We think its not a ‘one size fits all,’ which is what it feels like they are trying to do. At the federal level its much easier to do it,” Republican Sen. Paul Gazelka said.

House Democrats insist this is an idea who time has come. If employers already offer paid family leave, they could opt out of their portion of the payroll tax under this Democratic proposal.

Esme Murphy

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