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News & Press: MPMA News

Workforce Wednesday: Chaos at End of Legislative Session

Wednesday, May 24, 2017  
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Although MPMA’s Youth Skills Training Program bill made it through the chaos that marked the end of the 2017 Legislative Session and one-day Special Session, it’s still unclear what bills on Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk will be signed this week.

It is clear, as of this morning, that a one-night Special Session was not enough for the Legislature to complete its work on the 2018-19 biennial budget. The all-night session brought out some hostilities between some members of opposing parties and negative tones during discussions, which resulted in just two outstanding bills being passed: taxes and education. The omnibus transportation bill was introduced very early this morning, but was quickly tabled.

The good news is that five omnibus bills — agriculture, environment and natural resources, higher education, jobs and economic development, and judiciary and public safety — were passed before the regular session ended Monday (May 22) night. MPMA’s Youth Skills Training Program is in the jobs and economic development bill.

The bad news is that due to the chaos overnight, it’s unclear what bills the governor will sign. But the governor and legislative leaders met this morning, took a break to rest, and budget work is scheduled to resume today at 2:00 p.m.

When Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders announced the need for a special session late Monday, the agreement was for it to finish by 7:00 a.m. Wednesday. But with negotiations continuing throughout the day between legislative leaders and Dayton, along with the time needed for nonpartisan legislative staff to produce final agreements, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) acknowledged that may not happen, according to a report from the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services.

This weekend, B Kyle, President of the MPMA, sent a letter supporting the Jobs bill to Gov. Dayton.

“Minnesota manufacturers know first-hand the pressing workforce shortages making it difficult for employers to find the talent we need to grow,” she wrote, “MPMA strongly supports efforts to improve Minnesota’s skilled workforce, and we are ready and willing to do our part in welcoming youth who are interested in manufacturing careers into our industry.

“The provision creating the Youth Skills Training Program at the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will open the doors for more high school students to participate in skills-based internships. This legislation will provide a framework for training programs that incorporate employer participation, uniform skills and competencies, and pathways to post-secondary programs such as registered apprenticeships, two-year technical programs, and four-year degree programs. This initiative will also make it easier for employers to offer internships and apprenticeships to high school students,” the letter concluded.