Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday sharply criticized legislators who have scheduled hearings into a proposal to unionize in-home family child care providers.

"If the Legislature wants to save the taxpayers money, they could start, the Republicans, by not having frivolous hearings on ... things that haven't yet even occurred,'' Dayton said.

The governor said he hasn't yet decided what to do about the issue. Two unions, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), have been conducting door-to-door campaigns to sign up licensed family child care providers.

Dayton said he has ruled out recognizing the union via executive order but may order an election among providers. He said he is still researching the issue.

Both the House and Senate scheduled informational hearings this week on the topic, but the House canceled its meeting. The Senate meeting is still scheduled for Thursday evening.

"Why don't they start by reforming themselves?" Dayton said of the Legislature. "If something happens that's real, that's one thing. To trot out these hearings, which are just political ploys, rather than having any substance or effectiveness ... physician, heal thyself.''

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