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House labor finance bill would increase spending by $9.5 million

Modifying combative sports rules. Allowing University of Minnesota workers more flexibility in collective bargaining. Peace officer grievance arbitrator training.

Those are just a trio of topics included in the labor finance bill that would increase General Fund spending by more than $9.57 million in fiscal year 2025.

Sponsored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), HF5217, as amended, was shared with the House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee Tuesday. The committee is expected to debate amendments and vote on the bill Thursday.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

The bulk of the spending — $9 million — would go to Tending the Soil to help design, renovate, furnish and equip the Rise Up Center in Minneapolis. Once finished, the center located in a former YWCA, would be a workforce development hub serving and training about 3,000 workers annually, according to Madisen Rogers, community development coordinator for NEOO Partners.

“This is really training for the workforce of the future,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors the ask in HF4509.

Rep. Isaac Schultz (R-Elmdale Township) questioned the funding priority. “Nine million (dollars) is more money for one building for one structure than an entire county that has 25,000 residents.”

Other fiscal year 2025 General Fund appropriations in the bill include:

  • $707,000 from a special revenue fund for residential energy code adoption standards;
  • $453,000 — $279,000 from the workers compensation fund and $174,000 from the General Fund — for technical assistance for rulemaking for acceptable blood lead levels for workers;
  • $228,000 to reflect an increase in maximum payments from the Contractor Recovery Fund; and
  • $141,000 to notify private sector employees of changes to viewing personnel records.

Employee misclassification no more

Employee misclassification can create health and safety problems when employers use dishonest employee classifications to cut labor costs. The bill would ensure a business does not classify, represent, treat, report, disclose, document, or enter into an agreement with an employee, or require employees to agree to be misclassified or treated as something other than an employee — like an independent contractor. Businesses could be fined up to $10,000 per violation and issued stop work orders.

A one-time appropriation of $200,000 would go toward education and training related to employee misclassification.

John Thorson, legislative director and political coordinator for the Laborers' International Union of North America, said it is estimated that more than 20% of construction workers in Minnesota are either misclassified or “paid off the books.”

“The intentional misclassification of workers is so prevalent in construction because the financial incentives to do so are too great and the tools of enforcement are not adequate,” he said.

An “Intergovernmental Misclassification Enforcement and Education Partnership Act” would be created to improve communication and collaboration amongst government entities to detect, investigate, and deter employee misclassification.

Internet content by minors

To help keep young children safe from online predators and other issues, the bill would prohibit children under age 14 from working in internet content creation, so they cannot appear in more than 30 percent of the creator’s videos, but, if they do appear, they are entitled to 100% of the profits.

Minors ages 14-18 would be legal to produce their own content and are entitled to the profits.


What’s in the bill?

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the labor and industry finance bill:

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