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Sen. Torrey Westrom: Bills heard to unionize day care providers and increase the speed limit

ST. PAUL -- This week has been a busy one filled with committee hearings, floor sessions, and constituent meetings. Two items in particular that were addressed included a bill to unionize day care providers and another to increase the speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph.

First, the Senate heard legislation (Senate File 778) this week that would unionize day care providers. In 2011, Governor Dayton issued an executive order to unionize day care providers in the State of Minnesota. Last April, Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman ruled that Governor Mark Dayton did not have the authority to issue the executive order. He said the decision must be made by the Legislature.

As introduced, the bill offers childcare providers the rights and obligations of public employees. While the full meaning of that phrase is not clear, we do know that those who do not want to unionize will still have to pay up to 85 percent of union dues in the form of “fair share” fees. Also, day care providers will be forced to be entirely represented by government employee unions.

Creating an environment in which childcare providers are public employees will not make childcare more affordable or responsive. There are concerns that this legislation will raise the rates of day care providers which will hurt families who use their services

Secondly, On Wednesday, March 13, I offered an amendment to the Senate Transportation Omnibus Policy bill to include a slight speed limit increase from 55 mph to 60 mph except for in hazardous areas. The plan, if approved, would be phased in over a period of time. Every time the Minnesota Department of Transportation takes a 55 mph sign down for replacement on a set highway or route they would instead replace it with a 60 mph sign. This phase-in would eliminate additional costs for the proposal.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in St. Paul. Please feel free to contact me by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 with any legislative question or concern.