Senate, House DFL Leaders Push Back on Republican Obstructionism: Commonsense bills for progress in Minnesota blocked by Senate Republicans

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — DFL leaders in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives came together today to ask Senate Republicans to work across the aisle on shared priorities like supporting students, increasing access to health care, and ensuring safe and fair workplaces for all Minnesotans. In one of only two divided legislatures in the United States, bills for statewide progress have been refused public hearings in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

“When the majority won’t even let bills be heard, they’re effectively cutting the public out of the entire legislative process,” said Senate DFL Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. “Parents, students, families, and workers have been at my office and calling my phone all session asking us to move forward on some proposals that could make real, honest change for Minnesotans. If the majority would hear bills like Sen. Susan Kent’s paid family and medical leave proposal, they’d know how many Minnesotans are asking for a program to help them welcome home a new child or care for an aging parent without risking their economic stability.”

“The Minnesota House DFL is bringing forward a budget that reflects our shared values as Minnesotans and builds a state that works better for everyone,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley. “Minnesotans deserve open and honest hearings about the issues they care about. We will continue advocating for these policies and a budget that will improve the lives of Minnesotans.”

Bills referenced by DFL leaders at today’s press conference include:

  • Supporting students: The House education budget include grants to school districts for social workers, nurses, psychologists, and counselors. This bill has not been heard in the Senate even though it has bipartisan authors. (HF1363/SF1521)
  • Access to health care: Gov. Walz’s OneCare proposal to expand access to affordable health care across Minnesota has passed three House committees and is in the Health and Human Services omnibus bill. The bill has not been heard in the Senate. (HF3/SF1080)
  • Paid family and medical leave: A bill to create a paid family and medical leave program, which passed four House Committees and is included in the House economic development budget. The bill has not been heard in the Senate. (HF5/SF1060)
  • Safer workplaces: A bill removing the words ‘severe and pervasive’ from the definition of sexual harassment and ensuring more Minnesota workers have a safe place to work. The bill passed the House 113-10 and has not had a Senate hearing. (HF10/SF1307)
  • Equal rights for women: The Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment to ensure equal rights for women in and out of the workplace, which passed the House 72-55 and has not been heard in the Senate. (HF13/SF200)
  • Access to jobs: The Driver’s Licenses for All bill to ensure Minnesotans can get to and from work safely. The bill passed the House 74-52 and has not been heard in the Senate. A similar bill passed the Senate in 2013 (SF271) and 2015. (HF4)
Senator Tom Bakk
Tom Bakk is the Senate DFL Leader and represents District 3, which includes portions of Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties in the northeastern part of Minnesota.

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