Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Thursday that would have exempted older adults who work for the state on a short-term basis from being considered public employees.
Every year, the state hires a small army of college interns, seasonal workers and other employees who work for fewer than 100 days at a stretch.
Short-timers under the age of 22 are not classified as public employees – a status that offers benefits, collective bargaining rights and other union protections.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, would have extended that exemption to seasonal employees of all ages. It would have affected temporary workers in state agencies, schools and municipal governments.
In a statement about the veto, Dayton argued that there are valid reasons for offering older workers the benefits that come with the public employee classification – including vacation, sick days, overtime and, most importantly, healthcare.
“This bill puts in jeopardy adults who happen to be in school but work temporary or seasonal jobs,” Dayton said in his statement. “They would find themselves without insurance, benefits and other protections afforded other employees.”
The bill passed the House last year and the Senate earlier this week, over Democratic objections. We have a call in to Robling for a response to the veto.
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