Legislators at the Minnesota House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would prevent cities and counties from establishing new minimum wage rates or other employer benefit mandates that are inconsistent with state law. See H.F. 1241. The bill is designed to ensure the uniformity of minimum wage and other employment benefits across the state and to prevent local variations that will create added complexity for employers. The bill will not prevent cities and counties from establishing the wages and benefits for their own employees or for employees who perform work pursuant to municipal contracts.
Recently, there has been talk of the City of Minneapolis establishing its own municipal minimum wage. One group called 15 Now is seeking to establish a $15 per hour minimum wage in Minneapolis. Other cities have passed similar ordinances recently, including San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle. If this new bill passes, however, the bill would prevent any minimum wage ordinance passed by Minneapolis or any other local government in Minnesota from taking effect.
One notable opponent of a municipal minimum wage in Minneapolis is the Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges. Although Mayer Hodges supports a higher minimum wage, she believes that it should be addressed on a broader level than city-by-city. According to the Star Tribune, Mayor Hodges has expressed concern that Minneapolis could lose jobs to other cities if it establishes its own minimum wage, and she believes that there are other ways that cities can ensure that residents benefit from economic activity.
Takeaway: If passed, this new legislation would ensure that minimum wage and employment benefit requirements are uniform throughout the state of Minnesota. If you feel strongly about the legislation – one way or the other – contact your state representatives.