This Week in St. Paul: Minnesota House Looks at Bills Targeting Business Owners

Image Credit: Alpha News MN/Preya Samsundar

St. Paul, MN — State House members in St. Paul will be busy as they introduce and debate potential laws in committee this week.

Tax Credits for Veteran-Friendly Businesses

The Veteran’s Affair Division Committee is holding a hearing for House File 270  Monday afternoon.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Keith Franke (R – St. Paul Park)  would give companies who hire qualified veterans a tax credit. Qualified veterans are described as 9/11 veterans, disabled veterans, and unemployed veterans. Companies who qualify would receive a tax credit of 10% of the wage paid to the veteran. Companies can claim up to $3,000 in tax credits if they hire a disabled vet, $1,500 if they hire an unemployed veteran, and $500 if they hire a 9/11 veteran. Employers cannot apply for the credit for veterans already working for them.

Background Checks for Minnesota Doctors

Health and Human Services Reform Committee will hear House File 474.

It would amend current MN Statute 2016, section 147.381 to require criminal background checks for Minnesota doctors who list the State as its primary place of practice. Doctors seeking fast-tracked license for Minnesota, who have had a background check in the last year and Minnesota is not their primary place of practice will be exempt from criminal background checks. Rep. Tony Albright (R – Prior Lake) is the author of the bill.

Additional Funding for Suicide and Mental Health Prevention

Rep. Kelly Fenton (R – Woodbury) introduced House File 501 seeking $2,043,847 in fiscal year 2018 to continue funding for programs that have voice-response suicide prevention, mental health crisis response, and text message suicide prevention. Funding would provide those at risk with multiple alternatives to receive the expert help they need.

Tax-Exemption for Native American Lands

The House looks to add certain properties held by the Native American community to the tax-exempt list. Rep. Mike Sundin (D-Esko) authored House File 514 which would add Native American land to the tax-exempt list. Qualifying land must be owned by a federally recognized Native American tribe, must have less than 100,000 people living in the town, and the land must be used as a medical clinic. Buildings cannot exceed 20,000 square feet and does not include “single-family housing, market-rate apartments, agriculture, or forestry” The exemption would expire in 2028 should the bill be signed into law. Currently, the statute has several exemptions including private and public cemeteries, public school houses, hospitals, educational institutions, churches, and public charities.

Boycott Israel? Lose Your State Contract

Big and small business have been put on notice by Rep. Ron Kresha (R – Little Falls). Introducing House File 400, Kresha seeks to punish business’ who boycott Israel. Those seeking contracts with the State of Minnesota will have to sign an agreement to play nice with Israel. Any contract over $1,000 cannot “discriminate based on nationality or national origin” as long as they are under contract with the State.

Parental Leave Tax Credits

Rep. Sarah Anderson (R – Plymouth) seeks to reward business’ who offer paid parental leave to its employees. House File 315 will allow employers to apply for a tax credit equal to 25% of wages paid to employees on parental leave. Leave for an employee cannot exceed six weeks and employers are able to recuperate up to $3,000.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.