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RELEASE: Minnesota House Passes Major Wins for Workers in Transportation, Labor, and Housing Budget Bill

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


Rep. Michael V. Nelson 

Minnesota House of Representatives 

District 38A – 651-296-3751– 

585 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155 



CONTACT:  Marlee Schlegel 

651-296-9873 or 

May 1, 2024 


Minnesota House Passes Major Wins for Workers in Transportation, Labor, and Housing Budget Bill

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House passed HF5242, the Transportation, Labor, and Housing Budget Bill. The Labor Budget portion of the bill, authored by Rep. Michael V. Nelson (DFL – Brooklyn Park), includes legislation to catch worker misclassification fraud, allow employees to access their employment records, strengthen prevailing wage laws, and create a new job training center for building trades. The bill passed on a vote of 69-60.

"Democrats at the Capitol delivered historic progress for workers last year, but there’s more work to be done. Workers being fairly treated, compensated, and valued should never be up for debate, and today we took major steps to halt mistreatment and fraudulent workplace practices,” said Rep. Nelson, chair of the House Labor Committee. “The bill also ensures public dollars are not being used to exploit workers, which is a piece of fiscal responsibility that isn’t addressed enough. I’m incredibly proud of this legislation and want to thank the partners who worked diligently with us to ensure we pass a strong package that benefits folks all across the state.” 

A key policy provision to strengthen labor laws would ensure Minnesota has the legal and enforcement tools to address employee misclassification fraud. Misclassification fraud is a growing issue where some employers cheat the system by labeling legitimate employees as “independent contractors” to cut costs on the backs of workers. Incorrectly classifying legitimate employees means employers avoid costs like employment tax, providing benefits, and paying overtime wages. The Labor Budget bill clarifies who qualifies as an independent contractor and increases penalties on businesses found to be engaging in misclassification fraud. The bill increases funding for the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to investigate and enforce misclassification fraud to protect workers, law abiding businesses, and the public. DFLers know workers deserve economic security and protections of earning minimum wage and overtime, unemployment insurance when they get laid off, and worker's compensation when they get hurt on the job. By enforcing worker classification, bad actors will be held accountable while ensuring the workplace protections all Minnesotans deserve.   

Another provision addresses Child Labor protections, specifically for kids who frequently appear in monetized internet content, TV, and film, known as “kidfluencers.” This legislation would add guardrails for children under 14 appearing in or creating monetized content and would ensure minors are fairly compensated for their participation through a trust account. 

The bill also invests $9 million of grant funding for Tending the Soil to purchase and renovate the old YWCA building on Hennepin Ave.  Tending the Soil is a non-profit comprised of five power building non-profits and labor organizations including SEIU Local 26, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (Renters United for Justice,) New Justice Project, and Unidos MN. The facility would be home to the Rise Up Center, a new job training center for the building trades in partnership with LiUNA, the Carpenters Union, and the Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades Council. The training center would provide a pathway for workers of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete a pre-apprenticeship program, making program participants attractive candidates for registered apprenticeship programs in building trades and helping to diversify the workforce in the construction industry. 

Other provisions in the supplemental package address pay and working conditions for broadband infrastructure workers and crack down on worker exploitation on publicly financed affordable housing projects. This includes requirements for prevailing wage and the use of responsible contractors on projects that receive funds from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Tax Increment Financing (TIF).   

Another provision in the supplemental budget bill makes adjustments to employee record access. Current law provides workers the right to access their own employee records if their workplace has 20 or more employees. This bill reduces that minimum to one, ensuring all employees can access their own records. Another piece of worker protection is present in a provision to adopt new OSHA rules on lead exposure for workers. The bill calls on OSHA to lower the threshold of safe lead exposure and encourages DOLI to remove workers from unsafe conditions if their lead levels are high.  

Video of the floor debate can be found here