MNA Legislative Update, May 10, 2013

Standards of Care Campaign

Yesterday, Governor Dayton signed HF588/SF471 into law after it passed its final hurdle on the first day of Nurses Week when the House took a last procedural vote on Monday.  The bill requires the Department of Health to conduct a thorough study of the correlation between nurse staffing and patient health outcomes, and mandates every Minnesota hospital to publicly report their staffing plans.

When the study is complete, we will have Minnesota-specific data to underscore the stories nurses have been telling legislators for years: that unsafe staffing is a serious problem in Minnesota hospitals. Our ultimate goal is still a minimum standard of care for patient assignments in Minnesota. To that end, we must continue to advocate for safe staffing in every hospital, every day, every shift. Continue to submit Concern for Safe Staffing forms – they do make a difference – especially to legislators who may be skeptical that inadequate staffing is a problem.

Please thank the Governor for his support of nurses and of patient safety by sending an email.

Minimum Wage

Last week the Minnesota state House passed a long-overdue increase in the state’s minimum wage to $9.50. At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25, a couple with two children would have to work 155 hours a week to meet basic needs. Families headed by minimum wage workers are stressed, and an increase in minimum wage would lift many out of poverty. Click here for more information about the minimum wage in Minnesota.

This week the Senate passed their version, increasing the minimum wage to $7.75. Neither the House nor Senate version contains a “tip penalty” (a lower minimum wage for tipped workers like restaurant servers). The House version of the bill also indexes the minimum wage to inflation, ensuring raises for minimum wage workers as costs go up in the future.

The bill will now go to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two bills. MNA supports the House position, which brings minimum wage workers closer to a living wage.

The minimum wage increase may affect you, because many MNA nurses have contract language that is tied to the minimum wage. Check your contract by logging in to the MNA member portal at

State Employee Contract

The contract that includes over 700 MNA nurses at multiple State of Minnesota facilities will receive a vote on the Senate floor soon, possibly today. It has already been passed by the House, and should pass the Senate and go on to the Governor for his signature.

State Budget

Leaders of the House and Senate have been in meetings with the Governor this week to work out the differences between their budget and tax proposals. Among other items, the Health and Human Services budget depends on these talks, so we will continue to monitor the process.


Yesterday the House of Representatives voted 75-59 to allow all Minnesotans the freedom to marry, while protecting the freedom of religious institutions and clergy to practice their religion based on their values. Next, the bill will go to the Senate for a floor vote, expected on Monday, and then to Governor Dayton who has pledged to sign it into law. MNA supports the freedom to marry as an important step in ensuring equality under the law for all Minnesotans and their families.

You’re Invited: MNA Legislative Wrap-Up on June 11

Come learn about the impact of the legislative session on issues related to nursing practice, health care policy and finance, and the state budget, Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 – 5:30 pm at MNA office in St. Paul or via webcast. This event is for MNA members only and requires an RSVP. Please contact Eileen Gavin at and let her know if you plan to participate in person or online. (Online participants will need an RSVP code to join the event.)