Session has wrapped!
The 2023 legislative session concluded with time to spare, adjourning just after 10:00 pm on Monday night. This will be the final Top 5 of the year, but don’t fret: next session will be here before we know it on February 12, 2024. After passing the suite of budget bills this year—plus an overdue bonding package—next session, legislators will be tasked with compiling another bonding bill and making changes to policy.
Amid a struggling labor market and a surge of new energy for workers’ rights and labor unions, the Minnesota Legislature passed a sweeping set of new regulations. Among others, the new laws include:
- Paid Family and Medical Leave, a state-run program funded from payroll taxes paid by both employers and employees, will give workers up to 20 weeks per year to recover from illness or care for an ailing family member.
- Earned Sick and Safe Time requires employers to offer employees a minimum of 48 hours of paid leave per year, accruing at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. Workers can use the time as traditional sick time or to care for family members.
- A ban on non-compete clauses for all workers (learn more on this from our Employment team here), as well as a ban on no-poach agreements made between fast food companies, and on captive audience meetings.
- Specific protections for workers in key industries including meat packing, warehousing, and construction; among these are wage theft protections for subcontractors.
A bill that delivers $3 billion in tax cuts to Minnesotans also raises taxes by $1 billion. Means-testing won out this session: Minnesota households that made less than $150,000 in the 2021 tax year can look forward to a $260-per-person direct payment, while social security recipients making under $100,000 per year and families who make less than $35,000 per year and have children will see additional, substantial tax cuts. Minnesota’s highest earners and investors will now be subject to new taxes on capital gain earnings over $1 million, investment profits, and dividends. Corporate taxes for multinationals will also increase with a change to further bring the state into conformity with the federal tax code.
At nearly the last minute possible, a deal on a bonding bill came together between DFL and GOP leaders. Republicans agreed on a package that spends $1.1 billion in cash and $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds, plus $300 million to use for struggling nursing homes. While bonding bills are typically not considered during a budget year, it has been several years since leaders were able to agree on a package. With the backlog of infrastructure projects cleared, legislators are poised to examine a new set of projects during next year’s session.
What’s left for next year?
A proposal to legalize sports betting stalled this session, as tribal leaders and Minnesota’s racetracks failed to reach an agreement on the amount of funding allocated to racetracks before the session wrapped. A proposal to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution failed to clear its final hurdle as well, with leaders signaling that an amendment of this type should include the right to an abortion. Finally, a bill passed by both chambers that would institute an array of worker protections for rideshare drivers, who are classified as independent contractors, was vetoed by Governor Tim Walz on Thursday. In his first veto in four years, the Governor coupled the action with an executive order to form a task force aimed at studying workplace protections for these drivers. All three of these proposals are expected to see further action next session, which begins February 12, 2024.
Our Legislative Top 5 will return for the 2024 session!
May 26, 2023
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