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For Immediate ReleaseFor more information contact:
March 15, 1999Jon Peterson (651-296-5989)

(ST. PAUL) Employees of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul now have the right to live and work wherever they please, thanks to a bill authored by State Representative Rich Stanek (R- Maple Grove) and signed into law by Governor Jesse Ventura.

The new law repeals previous regulations which allowed Minneapolis and St. Paul to require their workers live in the city that employed them. The change will have a greater impact on Minneapolis, which employs 5500 people and has used residency requirements on and off for years. Cities are still allowed to give financial incentives to employees who choose to live in the city.

"This is an issue of personal freedom," Rep. Stanek said. "People should be able to choose where they want to live rather than be forced into areas simply because of who employs them. Issuing residency requirements restricts the number of people a city can draw from when hiring. It can also have the effect of forcing families apart by making parents file separate residences, or withdrawing their kids from one school and moving them to another."

Residency requirements for municipal employees in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been in place since the Legislature granted them a special exemption in 1993 and 1994, respectively, from a statewide prohibition on such ordinances. Proponents of the exemption argued that residency mandates would keep the payroll within the city limits and foster a better, more committed and loyal workforce.

As a Minneapolis police captain, Rep. Stanek has seen firsthand that the requirements had nearly the opposite effect. "They reduced the talent pool for new city workers, damaged worker loyalty and, worst of all, relegated Minneapolis to becoming a training ground for entry-level public safety personnel until they move onto other communities with higher pay and less restrictions on their personal lives," he said. "It is precisely because I believe the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul deserve the best public safety professionals available that I authored this bill."


Photo caption: Governor Ventura signs the Residency Freedom Bill into law while (from left to right) Senator Leonard Price (Woodbury), Rep. Stanek (Maple Grove), Senator Steven Novak (New Brighton) and Sgt. John Delmonico of the Minneapolis Police Federation look on.