The regular session of the Minnesota Legislative starts January 9, 2017. The election resulted in many new faces on capitol hill. There has been considerable discussion since that time about people’s plans. Now is the time that action may occur. The question remains what will happen? And, more importantly, what will be the impacts on small businesses?

 

1.Health Care

The first bill expected in the House of Representatives will address the cost of health care in Minnesota. This comes as surprise to no one. The bigger question is what will happen if anything? As a small business owner, a few things to know:

 

  • Nothing is overnight. The legislature is Republican controlled, but the Governor is a democrat. Expect that there will be no smooth sailing – for anything.
  • National policy plays a role. There is a lot of discussion about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. That remains to be seen.
  • Premiums will continue to rise. The exchange in Minnesota needs repair, but there does not seem to be agreement about what that will be. Thus, business owners should plan for and budget for continually rising premiums.

 

2.Transportation

At the end of last session, the legislature had pieced together a nearly $1 billion bonding bill to fund critical infrastructure. That fell apart with dispute arose over the Southwest light rail. The delay of that funding causes delay in important projects repairing roads and bridges. A special session did not happen and now it is time for the new policy makers to do something. A few things for business owners to know:

 

  • Funding will be a top priority. Commerce depends on the roads. Employees can’t make it to work and companies can’t deliver to customers. This delay in funding has also caused a delay of construction projects which means it might get complicated trying to get around them when they finally happen.
  • Real ID. This is the last chance for Minnesota to comply with the Department of Homeland Security requirements. That means that business owners should consider telling their employees to apply for passports if their jobs:
    • require air travel;
    • involve going in to federal buildings
    • happen at federal sites like military bases or other federal property.

 

3.Employment Law

People can be the biggest asset and the biggest liability of any company. Changes in any laws governing the terms of employment are particularly felt by small business owners.

  • Preemption. A large coalition of trade associations and business have gained policy maker support for legislation that requires employment laws to be decided at the state level. This law would require the state to issue laws on things like:
    • Earned sick and safe time
    • Minimum wage
    • Paid family and medical leave
  • ADA reforms. There were many technical changes in recent sessions to address certain flaws. Unfortunately, these changes have not proven to be enough for some groups to avoid certain “nuisance” suits. Business owners can expect further discussion at the state on a number of additional rules this year.

 

The 2017 Session is shaping up to be an active year. The attorneys of Loop Legal will continue to monitor the laws as they move through the process. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how we can help your small business advocate or otherwise prepare for the changes.