Republican State Rep. Wants To Furlough Government Employees

If passed into law, Runbeck's new bill will furlough all state employees not covered by a union agreement or other prohibitive contract for one week per month through the end of 2020.

A new bill introduced Monday by Republican State Representative Linda Runbeck seeks to furlough all public employees for one week each month for the remainder of 2020.

“Each public employee… shall be subject to one week of mandatory, unpaid leave once per calendar month until December 31, 2020,” reads the bill, HF 4628. This bill seems to be aimed at saving money and disrupting patterns of social contact amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, although the text of the proposed legislation does not explicitly provide such justification.

The bill defines a public employee as a “person employed for one day or more by the state; by a county, city, town, statutory or home rule charter city, school district, special service district, or municipality; or by any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of the state.” Runbeck also “specifically includes” employees of “the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, the Metropolitan Council, and the governor’s office.”

Notably exempt from the bill’s provisions are employees who have signed into a “collective bargaining agreement” or who have a “compensation plan to the contrary.”

Linda Runbeck has served in the State House intermittently since 1989, totaling up 17 years in office.

The proposed legislation has already drawn mixed reactions from the left and right sides of Minnesota politics. Former Eden Prairie GOP candidate Sheila Kihne along with a slew of other conservatives have praised the bill online. Meanwhile, left leaning public employees seem to be less than satisfied with Runbeck’s proposal.

HF 4628 does not have a senate companion and currently sits with the Government Operations State House Committee.