Here is an update from the Capitol.
We are entering into the final full week of the legislative session, and House and Senate Republicans are focused on reaching an agreement and getting a budget passed on time. That is why last week we began advancing our compromise budget bills that were agreed upon in conference committee including more than $1 billion in middle-class tax relief, a comprehensive transportation plan that does not raise the gas tax, and an education bill that increases funding for our students and schools by $1.14 billion over the current biennium.
We put these bills on the governor’s desk because we believe they will responsibly fund state government and will improve the lives of Minnesotans. They also all had bipartisan provisions including those championed by Governor Dayton.
Because he backed away from his deadline to set global budget targets, did not negotiate with legislative leaders over the weekend and was unable or unwilling to negotiate during the evenings last week, we are getting closer to deadline and need him to get serious about making meaningful offers so we can come to a commonsense compromise. The governor also instructed his commissioners to not negotiate during the public and open conference committee process.
I will share more as we head toward legislative adjournment.
Subcommittee on Employee Relations
Speaking at a press conference regarding the unionization of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) recently
On Monday, May 8, the Subcommittee on Employee Relations of which I am chair, held a hearing regarding home-based PCA labor agreements. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) became a union representing PCAs in 2014.
The subcommittee heard testimony from a number of PCAs for and against the renewal of the union contract. Many PCAs, including some who spoke during a press conference that day, shared that they never voted for unionization two years ago and did not sign up to join the union, but found themselves paying union dues.
Discrepancies with PCAs not receiving ballots, lack of transparency, forged signatures on sign up cards to join the union, and accusations of voter fraud were brought up during the hearing. I believe it is the responsibility of the Legislature to look more in depth at the issue and give the PCAs themselves a voice as to what happened to them because the people of Minnesota deserve answers. There is currently a legal challenge brought by the PCAs themselves to decertify the union election and if the Legislature votes to ratify the current PCA contract, that will abruptly end this legal action. I talked to The Daily Signal in more detail about it, and you can read the story here.
If you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.