Legislature sends child care union dues bill to Gov. Dayton
April 16, 2012 — 4:45pm
The Senate passed and sent to Gov. Mark Dayton a bill that grew out of a dispute over unionizing in-home child-care workers.
The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Ted Lillie, R-Lake Elmo, prevents the use of state child-care subsidies for union dues or fees. It passed the Senate 37-25. It passed the House in February on a 74-55 vote. Generally, the bill has been supported by Republicans and opposed by DFLers.
"Our bill simply protects the money that was meant directly for the kids,” said Lillie. “It keeps the money out of union hands…Childcare providers across the state have agreed this is important. They want to be able to make that decision themselves, about whether those funds should go directly to unions or how that should be done.”
“This was an issue that was really created by the governor,” said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “There had not been any movement to try to bring this about through legislative action. In the years I have been in the legislature, there has been nobody coming and lobbying on this issue…We objected, believing the governor does not have the power to do this through executive order.”
The senators said they hope the governor will sign the bill, although they said they did not speak to him about the bill before bringing it to the floor for a vote. Dayton has not stated his position on the bill.
In November, Dayton called for a union election among child-care providers who care for patients receiving state subsidies. Anti-union providers and conservative groups filed suit, and a judge threw out Dayton's order, saying he exceeded his authority. That means that as things now stand, there will be no union election.
GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey released a letter to a party committee questioning the judgment and competency of Deputy Chairman Chris Fields just days ahead of the election for party officers in St. Cloud Saturday.