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Walz Set to Release Budget
Governor Tim Walz will release his budget proposal on Tuesday, a plan expected to call for record spending as well as major policy initiatives. The State’s record $17.6 billion budget surplus will allow the Governor to make significant spending increases. Walz began rolling out pieces of the budget this week. On Tuesday Walz proposed spending $5.2 billion on schools, including more money for special education, mental health and free breakfast and lunch for all students. He also wants to expand Minnesota’s child and dependent care tax credit to help about 100,000 families with day care costs. Families earning less than $200,000 could get up to $4,000 for one child, $8,000 for two children and $10,500 if they have three kids. Walz also wants to create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families from portions of the Education, Human Services and Corrections Departments. His office said he is also thinking of dividing the Department of Human Services into three separate agencies. On Thursday Walz announced plans to spend $4.1 billion on economic development, job training, family medical leave and tax breaks for small businesses. His health care budget ideas are expected to be released on Monday        

Family and Medical Leave Act Advances in Senate
The Senate Jobs and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday heard and approved SF2 (Mann, DFL-Edina). The bill creates a state family and medical leave benefit program that would be housed in the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The bill provides for up to 12 weeks of paid family and 12 weeks of paid medical leave a year for employees under certain conditions.   DEED is to receive $1.7 billion in state funds to set up the program, with benefits scheduled to begin July 1, 2025.   Ongoing expenses for the program would be paid by employers and employees. Business associations opposed the bill, including the 0.7% payroll tax to fund it. Corey Anderson testified against the bill on behalf of NAIFA Minnesota. Anderson noted that there are a range of affordable products available in the private market for consumers. He warned that the bill puts the State in competition with private companies. He suggested the State focus on family leave. Counties, cities and school boards also expressed concern about the impact of the new payroll tax. The bill was approved and sent to the Labor Committee.   The House companion bill, HF2 (Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights) is scheduled to be heard Tuesday, January 25 in the Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee.

Earned Sick and Safe Time Bill Moves Forward
Workers would be granted one hour of leave for every 30 hours of work under the provision of a bill approved by the Senate Labor Committee on Tuesday. SF34 (Pappas, DFL-St. Paul) is intended to assure that employees working more than 80 hours per year can take leave. It also requires that an employee be able to return to their former position after using earned sick and safe time. The bill allows employees to carry over at least 80 hours of accrued hours from year to year. Employees would be able to use earned leave for 1) the employee’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventative care; (2) care of a sick family member or a family member in need of preventative care or treatment; and (3) absence related to domestic abuse. The bill was opposed by numerous business associations. The bill was approved and referred to the Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans. NOTE: This bill is different from the Family and Medical Leave bill described above.

Schedule for the Week of January 16
Wednesday, January 18
Workforce Development Finance and Policy
Location: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Jay Xiong

HF2 (Richardson) Paid family and medical leave

If you would like to testify or provide materials to the committee, please contact Travis Reese at travis.reese@house.mn.gov by Noon, Tuesday, January 24, 2023 To learn more about requesting an accommodation, please visit the FAQs for Disability Access. If you have further questions on accommodations or accessibility, please contact the Committee Administrator.

Committee Documents:
DE1 Author's Amendment