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Labor committee advances supplemental finance bill

A supplemental budget bill that would appropriate more than $9.57 million from the General Fund in fiscal year 2025, was approved by the House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee Thursday on a split-voice vote.

Sponsored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), HF5217, as amended, awaits action by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bulk of the spending, $9 million, would go to Tending the Soil — a collection of nonprofit organizations — to help design, renovate, furnish and equip the Rise Up Center in Minneapolis.

Once finished, the center located in a former YWCA building, would be a workforce development hub serving and training about 3,000 workers annually.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet; House labor finance bill would increase spending by $9.5 million]

While no DFLers commented on their support of the bill, Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano) questioned the increased spending.

“We are already potentially facing a budget deficit,” he said. “The amount of spending is very unacceptable, it’s irresponsible and it’s going to put the state in a very hard situation in two years.”

Only one Republican proposal was included in the final product.

“I think it’s no good, whatsoever, that one party wouldn’t even bother giving a hearing to a fellow colleague,” McDonald said. “That’s just poor governance and disrespectful, in my opinion.”

Rep. Isaac Schultz (R-Elmdale Township) unsuccessfully offered the only Republican amendment proposed for the bill.

Failing on nearly a party-line vote, it would have modified provisions dealing with earned sick and safe time and would have made on-call or volunteer firefighters, short-call substitute teachers or public employees hired on an as-needed basis ineligible from receiving earned sick and safe time.

“We’re spending a whole bunch of money on one particular facility and then, at the same time, potentially not doing enough to reach out to employers. And there needs to be more of that,” he said. “I would just highly encourage more cooperation between [the Department of Labor and Industry] and employers across the state.”

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