Five laws passed this legislative session by the DFL took effect last week, including an increase to the state’s minimum wage and tighter restrictions on firearms for domestic abusers and stalkers.
For the first time in 10 years, the state’s minimum wage increased from $6.15 to $8.00 an hour. This increase is the first of three hikes over the next three years, with the final increase ending at $9.50 in 2016. In 2018, the wage will increase with inflation, but remain capped at 2.5 percent.
DFL legislators made raising the wage a top priority this legislative session. Before the increase, Minnesota had one of the nation’s lowest minimum wages. One of the bill’s chief authors, Sen. Jeff Hayden, said:
“We rely on these workers every day, yet many of them cannot support their own families. Raising the minimum wage is a part of a larger effort to lift up the working poor and ensure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to earn enough to get by.”
Governor Dayton applauded the effort by DFL legislators:
“Minnesotans who work full time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty and achieve the American dream. Raising the minimum wage will improve the lives of more than 325,000 hardworking Minnesotans. I thank the Legislature for recognizing the need to make work pay in Minnesota.”
Also in effect as of last week is a law that prohibits people subjected to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing weapons. It also requires someone convicted of domestic assault or stalking to surrender their firearms if it is part of their probation. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support this legislative session.
The bill is an effort to keep people, including police officers, safe in domestic abuse situations that could become deadly if the abuser has possession of a gun.
Three other laws also came into effect last week: an expansion of the the definition of drugs to include synthetic drugs, new protections and penalties for data breaches, and a law that requires drivers to stop and investigate what was struck in a collision.
This session, it was clear that DFL leaders in St. Paul were devoted to passing laws that are now bringing real change and creating opportunities for thousands of hardworking Minnesota families. Thanks to the work our progressive leaders have accomplished, families can continue to live lives they’re proud of in our great state.