Legislative special session: No work on deficiency funding or bonding bills;Senate GOP ousts Labor Commissioner

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On Aug. 12, the Legislature met for its third special session of 2020. Legislators are required to convene if the Governor’s emergency peacetime authority is extended beyond 30 days. While lawmakers found agreement on a public safety bill and disability service provider grants, deficiency funding and bonding bills were not addressed due to the recent state bond sale.

In a surprise political move, saying she had been unresponsive to business, Republican Senators fired Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink. While the Senate has the power to reject executive branch appointments, it rarely does so.

Democratic Senators denounced the action and said they had no advance notice about the vote and Minneapolis Senator Scott Dibble called the action an “ambush.”

MAPE President Megan Dayton and Director Lina Jamoul issued the following statement about Commissioner Leppink’s ouster:

“Minnesotans value healthy, safe and fair working conditions. This is never more important than now as our state struggles with the pandemic. We are dismayed with the  Senate Republicans who chose to play politics over guarding the health and safety of Minnesota’s workers when they voted to oust Commissioner Leppink.

“MAPE has been lucky to work with Commissioner Leppink and  she exemplified servant leadership. Her dedication to Minnesota and the health and safety of our workers was clear. We need more public servants like Commissioner Leppink, not Senators who play games with our legislative confirmation process.

“Minnesotans have a choice to make this November. These actions are making the choice much easier.”