St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Senate Omnibus Jobs, Commerce, and Energy Bill (HF 2208) passed Monday by a vote of 40-26. The legislation includes funding for equity initiatives for workforce training and business development, efforts to address wage theft, and provisions to improve Minnesota’s energy policy.
“This legislation includes important provisions to improve Minnesota’s energy policy, and invests in several initiatives to help working Minnesotans, including to address wage theft and to provide resources for workforce training,” said Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth), who serves as the ranking minority member of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, and as member of the Senate Jobs Committee. “While these are good steps, the bill also includes preemption language that I am strongly opposed to. It is wrong for the state to impose a ceiling on what can be done for local wages and benefits, especially for communities like ours, where hundreds of hours of outreach and work have been done to craft policies that work for our needs.”
During debate on the bill, an amendment was offered and accepted by Senator Simonson requiring the Legislative Energy Commission to study the renewable energy standard and the state’s greenhouse gas emissions-reductions goals. The bill also includes $2 million in funding from the Minnesota Investment Fund to help the Verso Duluth Paper Mill upgrade its plant. Senator Simonson voted yes on final passage of the bill, in an effort to further the conversation on smart policy for this bill and to serve on the conference committee as the DFL member on the Senate side during conference committee negotiations.
“As this bill goes into conference committee, I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to make this a better bill for Minnesota’s workers, and to ensure the final bill better aligns with the values and priorities we all share,” added Senator Simonson.
The bill will now enter a conference committee with the House.