Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe McDonald (R)

Back to profile

McDonald: Labor bill hammers construction industry

Thursday, May 2, 2024


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Wednesday approved an omnibus bill Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said increases penalties for the construction industry and adds onerous new building codes, driving up housing costs at a time home affordability already is a major issue for Minnesotans.

All this, McDonald said, while the Democrat proposal also spends millions of dollars to advance a social agenda, forces costly new mandates on public transportation and imposes new requirements on housing providers.

“I do not support this bill proposed by House Democrats because it puts more burdensome mandates and costly penalties for clerical errors on our state’s industries,” said McDonald, the ranking Republican on labor. “This is an especially ill-advised approach at a time businesses already are dealing with workforce shortages, price increases and high taxes in Minnesota. It places our businesses at an even larger disadvantage compared with surrounding states.”

The provisions McDonald referenced are part of an omnibus bill (H.F. 5242) encompassing labor, transportation, and housing. McDonald said he is especially concerned about how the bill impacts the construction industry by changing the independent contractor status for construction workers and steps up penalties for employers who may inadvertently misclassify employees as independent contractors.

Furthermore, McDonald said the bill permits stop-work orders across many project sites depending on the infraction; not only will there be a work stoppage at the site where the violation occurred, but potentially across the various sites of the same contractor.

The bill also provides $9 million for the Tending the Soil’s Rise Up Center, a 70,000-square-foot renovated YMCA in Minneapolis. McDonald said Tending the Soil is a nonprofit umbrella for organizations, such as the Headwaters Foundation, which describes Tending the Soil as working to “remove the toxins of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism and nourish our communities to grow justice, self-actualization, autonomy, and collective communities.”

The overall package also contains provisions related to transportation and housing. McDonald said the transportation section of the bill requires a zero-emission mandate on Metro Transit busses in 10 years; forces Met Council – not cities – to pay for all street redevelopment and upgrade costs related to new bus rapid transit line locations within a city; requires transportation greenhouse gas impact assessments and mitigation on road expansion projects; and adds numerous mandates to freight railroads, making it more difficult for them to conduct business.

On housing, McDonald said the bill adds onerous mandates on housing providers and expands expensive bureaucracy. He said the bill requires housing providers to accept payment from any government program, such as Section 8.

The bill is in the hands of the Senate after receiving 69-60 approval on a party-line vote.


Recent News for Rep. Joe McDonald