The 2013 Minnesota Legislature adjourned at midnight on Monday, bringing to a close one of the most productive legislative sessions for working Minnesotans in a generation, the Minnesota AFL-CIO said. Lawmakers failed, however, to pass legislation raising the minimum wage.
“After a decade of devastating cuts, budget gimmicks, and giveaways to corporate special interests, Governor Dayton and the DFL majority in the Legislature passed a budget that restores cuts, invests in jobs and education, and makes taxes fairer for middle class Minnesotans,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson. “Minnesota won’t turn around overnight, but the 2013 session was an enormous step forward.”
The DFL Legislature passed bills that will help countless numbers of working people in Minnesota, including:
• A 26 week extension of unemployment benefits for any worker whose employer locks them out
• Agreement between labor and business on worker’s compensation reform that increases benefits to injured workers and finally recognizes psychological trauma as a workplace injury
• The right for childcare providers and personal care attendants to vote on whether they want to form a union
• Investments in job creation tools, an infrastructure bonding bill, and key construction projects like the Mall of America expansion
• Closing corporate tax loopholes, reducing property taxes, and ensuring the richest pay their fair share in taxes
• A monumental investment in E-12 education, including the guarantee of all-day kindergarten in every public elementary school
• Significant funding increases for MnSCU and the U of M, which will enable a tuition freeze for students, significant increases in the state grant and aid program, and passage of the Dream Act
• Ensuring highly trained professionals run passenger rail service
• Guaranteeing the freedom to marry to all loving and committed couples
While this was a productive session, one major disappointment was the Minnesota Senate’s failure to work with Governor Dayton and the House on a meaningful minimum wage increase.
“Hundreds of thousands of low-wage working Minnesotans and their families who deserve a pay raise are extremely disappointed in the Senate’s failure to agree to a meaningful minimum wage increase,” Knutson said. “Between now and the 2014 session, our coalition will be having conversations with lawmakers and their constituents about why a significant minimum wage increase is good for workers, small businesses, and our entire state.”