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LETTER: Be concerned about pre-emption

To the editor:

The speaker of the Minnesota House has called pre-emption one of his top priorities in 2017, but what is pre-emption? It simply means that the state pre-empts — or overrides — local policy-making. It is a way to take away local city or county control on a whole range of policy decisions.

Pre-emption in other states has had far reaching implications in public health, public safety, zoning and land use, workforce policy, environmental regulations, and even human rights. A number of pre-emption bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature. For example, HF 600/SF 580 to prevent local employment policies; and more are on the way.

Through ISAIAH, we have been pushing for paid family leave and paid sick time policies at the state level that would give hard working families paid time off to care for their loved ones when they are sick. These policies poll incredibly high among Minnesotans, and yet they have not been able to move far at the state capital because corporate lobbyists have undue influence on our legislators.

Anything that takes away power from local democracy and gives more power to already wealthy and powerful people is bad for Minnesota. In Greater Minnesota, we know our neighbors and we care deeply about one another. We should be trusted to make our own decisions.

All of us, including elected city councilors, county commissioners, school board members, and township supervisors, should be concerned about efforts to prevent local policy making. Yes, the state should set minimum standards for areas such as fair workforce policies, but we should have the right to improve them where we live.

Kay Slama

Spicer, MN