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House, Senate versions of omnibus jobs bill differ on employment, business issues

Different amounts of funding for small-business aid. Employee-protection measures, such as paid family and medical leave and earned sick and safe time. Giving businesses more leeway to work around any COVID-19-related executive orders.

Those are among the key differences in the House and Senate omnibus jobs and economic development bills, HF1342/SF1098*, heard for the first time by a conference committee Wednesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), the bills would fund the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Department of Labor and Industry, and provide relief to small businesses.

[MORE: View a side-by-side comparison of the policy differences]

In addition to employee-protection provisions, long championed by DFLers, the House bill would provide essential workers with emergency sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons and create safety requirements for the meat and poultry industry.

None of those provisions are in the Senate bills.

Here is a rundown of the bills:

Funding differences

The bills would allocate similar amounts of funding next biennium: HF1098 calls for $1.54 billion in spending, and SF1098 calls for $1.55 billion in spending.

The Senate bill would allocate $100 million for a statewide small business relief loan-guarantee program. The House bill includes $50 million in fiscal year 2021 for small business COVID-19 support grants and $7 million next biennium for small business development assistance and funding for the Small Business Development Centers.

Notable Senate appropriations not in the House bill include:

  • $20.6 million in fiscal year 2021 from the General Fund to the Department of Revenue for business that were eligible for relief payments authorized last December but did not get them because of a classification error;
  • $2 million for Summit Academy OIC; and
  • $1.75 million for the MN Technology Association SciTech Internship Program.

Notable House appropriations not in the Senate bill include:

  • $34.7 million for paid family and medical leave insurance;
  • $15 million for the Minnesota Job Creation Fund; and
  • $10.345 million for community business development grants.

[MORE: View a spreadsheet of the differences]

Policy differences

The Senate bill would require that any executive order relating to a public health emergency for an infectious disease that closes or partially closes a business be approved by the Legislature. Businesses would need to be provided 14 days advanced notice of closure.

It would also allow businesses closed because of certain executive orders to operate at full capacity if they develop COVID-19 safety plans and make good-faith efforts to maintain safe and healthful workplaces.

The House bill would require rehiring and retention of hospitality industry employees laid off due to a peacetime emergency or ownership change. It would also prohibit subtracting credit card fees from employee tips and require payment of full credit card tips by no later than the next pay period.

[MORE: View a side-by-side comparison of the economic development language]

The conference committee will meet again Thursday to continue walking through the bills.

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