A majority of Minnesotans do not support a Republican initiative at the Legislature to block cities from setting their own workplace rules like local minimum wages and employer sick leave mandates.

The Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found 60 percent of voters statewide said they believe the Legislature should not approve such limits. Another 26 percent said the state should take such action; the rest were not sure.

(See the poll results here.)

Republican majorities in the House and Senate passed bills this year to repeal new sick-leave ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and to prevent all Minnesota cities from setting their own rules on wages, sick leave and other workplace benefits.

The measure’s backers say wide disparities in workplace rules between cities could hurt businesses. Opponents charge that it’s an attempt to strip local control by lawmakers with little knowledge of individual cities’ needs.

While ordinances or proposals in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth have been the top targets for lawmakers, poll participants from around the state showed a similar opposition to the measures. In the Twin Cities and nearby suburban counties, 64 percent of people were opposed to the GOP-sponsored proposal. Fifty-six percent of southern Minnesotans polled and 50 percent of those in northern Minnesota did not support the measure. Support was highest in northern Minnesota, where 33 percent were in favor.

The low support cuts across party lines, with 66 percent of DFLers, 56 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independent voters saying the Legislature should not act to regulate cities’ ordinances.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed opposition to the measure but stopped short of threatening a veto.

ERIN GOLDEN