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Other View: ‘Preemption’ a political statement cloaked as policy

February 16, 2017

Duluth News Tribune

Erik Simonson

February 16, 2017

Duluthians are in the middle of a years-long project in which we are considering creating an earned sick and safe time benefit. Duluth could join the ranks of other cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, both of which recently passed ordinances requiring employers to provide time off based on the number of hours an employee works. While the Duluth City Council-appointed task force weighs the pros and cons of the policy, a different battle is raging at the state Capitol.

Both bodies of the Legislature recently addressed the idea of preemption. Preemption laws block cities, counties, and other forms of local government from creating rules and regulations that conflict with those of the state. They often affect labor standards, things like wages, time off (whether paid or unpaid), benefits, and general working conditions. Republicans in the state Senate and House are actively working on passing such a bill called the Uniform State Labor Standard Act, which uses preemption to specifically target labor standards.

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