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Conferees close deal on broad transportation, labor and housing package

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

What do Bruce Springsteen and Rotary International have in common?

Both played a starring role in the final moments of the transportation/labor/housing supplemental budget bill conference committee that wrapped up its work late Wednesday.

One of the last official actions by the conferees on HF5242, was approving an oral amendment offered by committee co-chair Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) to authorize a special Rotary Club license plate.

The committee put a bow on labor and housing sections earlier in the day, and the report is now headed back to the House and Senate for concurrence.

After committee members approved an agreement, co-chair Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls), presented the retiring Hornstein with a hardcover of “Bruce Springsteen: Halfway to Heaven & Just a Mile Out of Hell,” which Dibble said could well be a metaphor for work in the Legislature.  


Cameras could be used to enforce red light and speed laws in Minneapolis and Mendota Heights via a slightly scaled back Senate-only provision that would allow a traffic safety enforcement pilot program. It would allow exceptions for medical emergencies, identify vehicles rather than drivers and not include citations on a driving record.

Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) unsuccessfully offered amendments that would take pictures of drivers not cars and allow fewer cameras per capita.

Some of the transportation spending provisions include:

  • $22.5 million to design and acquire land for a new state patrol headquarters;
  • $4.8 million to build additional truck parking areas in the metro area for drivers who can’t quite make it home in allotted driving hours;
  • $3 million to hire additional behind-the-wheel driver’s license examiners; and
  • $1 million to plan improvements at the intersection of U.S. Highway 169 and Trunk Highway 282.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

The report includes several provisions inserted via amendments that weren’t in either chamber’s original bill, including the establishment of an advisory council on infrastructure. Coming from HF4025 that was first heard in the House Sustainable Infrastructure Policy Committee, it aims to ensure different departments could give input on projects and possibly improve efficiency. For example, water and transportation work could be scheduled concurrently so a road is not torn up twice.  

Conference Committee HF 5242 - Omnibus Transportation Housing Labor appropriation - Part 2 - 5/15/24 (Video courtesy Minnesota Senate Media Services)

Another new provision would examine whether a standing committee should authorize bridge and highway designations.

The final report includes several Senate-only provisions, including ones that would set cleanliness and repair standards for Metro Transit vehicles, establish a standing committee to review special license plates, create a full-service driver’s license office near the Hmong Village shopping center in St. Paul, and require a report on the shortage of commercial drivers.

Other provisions included would:

  • require rumble strips be installed on state highways as long they are not within 750 feet of residences;
  • establish a Lights Out grant program that would allow law enforcement officers to give vouchers for equipment repairs such as fixing broken headlights. Priority would be given to high-crash or high-poverty areas;
  • extend from 21 to 60 days the time a temporary license plate is valid;
  • require the Minnesota Council on Disability create a new, uniform disability parking sign to be deployed beginning Aug. 1, 2025; and
  • allow a third-party to monitor the fourth and subsequent attempts of written driver’s license test.


The labor provisions of the agreement would appropriate $10.7 million in spending from the General Fund in fiscal year 2025.

The bulk of outlay is a one-time $9.65 million appropriations to help construct and provide broadband for the Rise Up Center in Minneapolis. Located in a former YWCA, the workforce development hub would serve and train about 3,000 workers annually.

[MORE: View the labor spreadsheet]

Misclassification of employees

A House provision would ensure a business does not classify, represent, treat, report, disclose, document, or enter into an agreement with an employee, or require employees to agree to be misclassified or treated as something other than an employee, like an independent contractor. The Department of Labor and Industry could penalize a business up to $10,000 per violation.

Enforcement of the misclassification provision would be aided with $1.4 million for the 2026-27 biennium. And the agency could give a stop-work order until the business in question comes into compliance. An Intergovernmental Misclassification Enforcement and Education Partnership would be created to improve communication and collaboration amongst government entities to detect, investigate, and deter employee misclassification.

Conference Committee HF 5242 - Omnibus Transportation Housing Labor appropriation - Part 1 - 5/15/24 (Video courtesy Minnesota Senate Media Services)

Earned Sick and Safe Time

The bill would make technical and policy changes to the earned sick and safe time provisions for workers.

Changes would make air flight crews eligible, while excluding volunteer or paid on-call firefighters, ambulance service personnel, elected officials and farm laborers. The provision would also pay an equivalent amount to employees if their employer doesn’t offer earned sick and safe time equal to 48 hours per year at the employee’s usual rate of pay.

A one-time $310,000 appropriation in fiscal year 2025 would be for rulemaking related to earned sick and safe time.

Republicans unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would require employees to give at least two hours’ notice before using earned sick and safe time. It would have also required employees to make “reasonable efforts” to seek a replacement employee for the missed shift.


The report’s housing budget would reappropriate $18 million from fiscal year 2024 and spend $28 million in fiscal year 2025, meeting the net housing budget target of $10 million. Appropriations include:

  • $30 million to community stabilization initiatives, bringing the total fiscal year 2025 appropriation to $70 million;
  • $8.68 million in for the Housing Finance Agency: $8.11 million for the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program; $471,000 to expedited rental assistance; and $150,000 for the Wilder Foundation for the Minnesota homeless study;
  • $545,000 for the Supreme Court to expunge tenant eviction court cases;
  • $400,000 to facilitate a task force on long-term sustainability of affordable housing; and
  • $225,000 for a report on the feasibility of single-egress stairway apartment buildings.

Missing from the agreement is a provision to ensure housing assistance recipients can utilize public assistance housing vouchers. Supporters said it would prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants who receive rental assistance; opponents said it would force landlords to enter contracts with the government by forcing them to accept housing vouchers.

Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield), chair of the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee, said Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) would vote against the entire package if the voucher provision for low-income renters were included.

With $150,000 in fiscal year 2025 to the Department of Human Services can analyze emergency shelter needs for transgender individuals. The provision is also in the House children and family supplemental budget bill that members passed 68-62 May 1.

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