This afternoon during Rush Hour News, you’ll have a chance to make your opinion known during “Answer the Question”. This afternoon: do you think businesses have too much power in the Minnesota Legislature?

Two stories from a frantic end of the legislative session bring this topic up.

The “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act” was intended to give nurses a seat at the table when it comes to staffing levels at hospitals and clinics. The act, if passed, would require hospitals to set up staffing committees made up of at least 35% direct care nurses and 15% other direct care staff. The committees would create core staffing plans that include the minimum number of nurses assigned to each inpatient unit, and the total number of patients a hospital can safely care for.

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The Minnesota Hospital Association came out against the bill and lobbied extensively against it, but it wasn’t until Mayo Clinic stepped in that the bill started to die.

Officials at Mayo told legislators that they would delay or abandon billions of dollars in expansion plans in the state if the bill was signed into law.

Shortly after, the bill was watered-down and the staffing requirements were removed from the bill.

In another action, Governor Walz vetoed a bill that would have provided a minimum wage for rideshare drivers.

House File 2369 would have set a minimum charge of $1.45 per mile and $0.34 per minute for all trips in the Twin Cities, and a minimum of $1.25 for trips outside the Twin Cities.

The bill narrowly passed both houses of the legislature and was sent to the Governor’s desk.

In response to the passage, an Uber spokesperson sent a letter to Governor Walz stating that Uber would discontinue service to Greater Minnesota effective August 1st if the bill was signed into law.

The veto of House File 2369 is the first veto of Governor Walz’s career.

Answer the question:

With the demise of these two bills, do you believe that businesses, especially large businesses, in Minnesota have undue influence on how we are governed? Are your legislators too easily swayed by critique from a state business?

We’ll answer the question this afternoon during Rush Hour News on WJON.

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