The Minnesota State Court of Appeals said Monday it is unconstitutional for the state to pay less for in-home care when the provider is related to the person receiving the care.

At issue is a 2011 amendment that reduced the pay of personal care assistants who are related to those receiving the care by 20 percent, relative to unrelated providers. According to the Service Employees International Union, which is seeking to organize care assistants, the reduction was blocked by the court battle and delayed by the Legislature.

The appeals court ruled that treating the two groups differently -- related and unrelated care providers -- violates the state Constitution. The decision said the Legislature's action "creates arbitrary distinctions between relative and nonrelative personal care attendants ... and therefore is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Minnesota Constitution."



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