May 14: With the 13 people willing to put their bodies on the line to be arrested leading the group, approximately 40 people arrived at the State Office Building. The initial group was joined by nearly 10 people from the group Working America. We walked up to the fourth-floor offices of Rep. Pat Garofalo and the House Republican Caucus. The 13 people designated for arrest stood at the entrance of the office door, while the rest of the participants chanted and gave speeches demanding a living wage and sharing their experience of trying to make a living on minimum wage. We heard from an African-American single dad who talked about holding down to full-time minimum wage jobs so that he pay for daycare. We heard from a millennial young woman working as a temp trying to repay her student loans. We were lead in songs by theo-musicologist Jayanthi Kyle.
After about an hour of chanting and singing, the 13 people designated for arrest occupied the office of Rep. Garofalo, while the rest of the participants stood outside of the office singing and chanting. In the meantime, our police liaison was in communication with Capitol security and the MN State Troopers. After nearly 3 hours occupying the office, the 13 people were arrested by State Troopers and escorted to waiting vans to be taken to the detention center to be processed.
Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo is the House author of the pre-emption bill HF600. The debate over pre-emption isn’t only about minimum wage and paid leave policies. Republicans introduced at least two dozen proposals that would pre-empt local governments from doing everything from blocking new housing ordinances to prohibiting cities from spending any money to study passenger rail.