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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Marj Fogelman (R)

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives has approved a comprehensive human services bill that, if signed into law, could be detrimental to Minnesotans who are working with a disability.


The provision would eliminate the subminimum wage, which was created more than 80 years ago to give disabled residents more opportunities to enter the workforce. The individual hired under this program receives an amount that is less per hour than Minnesota’s minimum wage.


“In other states where similar programs have been eliminated, the majority party took that choice away without offering a better alternative, which leads to the disabled community losing jobs,” Fogelman said. “It’s just a bad idea.”


The legislation states that beginning August 1, 2026, no businesses could hire new employees under a subminimum wage, and beginning August 1, 2028, no employer could pay employees with disabilities a subminimum wage.


Fogelman said if this provision becomes law, it will most likely end the rehabilitative and socialization employment programs that were developed to aid more severely developmentally disabled persons. Once that happens, some people with significant disabilities will be unemployed.


“I have received emails and had conversations with members of the disabled community pleading for this program to remain,” Fogelman said. “These workers want to work and enjoy what they’re doing, and I’m very concerned the House majority is trying to make the program disappear.”