Safe Staffing Approved in State Bonding Bill

Local 404 leaders Tim Headlee, Matt Stenger and Eric Hesse have fought for Safe Staffing at Minnesota Security Hospital and other facilities.
Local 404 leaders Tim Headlee, Matt Stenger and Eric Hesse have fought for Safe Staffing at Minnesota Security Hospital and other facilities.

AFSCME members have won significant safety upgrades to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter and several other mental health facilities.

Council 5 members held numerous meetings with lawmakers, attended rallies, made hundreds of phone calls, testified in hearings and stood vigil at the Capitol in the final days of the special session. Their hard work paid off.

The House and Senate approved a $988 million bonding bill at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.

The bill includes construction projects that will improve safety at facilities where AFSCME members work:

  • $70.25 million in safety upgrades for the St. Peter Hospital. Honor is due to the Local 404 leaders who fought tirelessly for the safety of their co-workers.
  • $2.25 million for safety and security renovations at Anoka Regional Treatment Center.
  • $7.5 million to build a new Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services (CABHS) facility in Willmar, where the existing facility was slated for closure.
  • $19 million for a new intake unit at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

The bonding bill also includes:

  • $100.36 million for human services.
  • $101 million for economic development.
  • $116 million for water infrastructure.
  • $212 million for higher education to make campus improvements.
  • $255 million for transportation to replace or repair bridges, roads and railroad crossings.

GOP leaders initially proposed a bonding bill of just $600 million, which was rejected. Bonding bills require a three-fifths supermajority vote from the House and Senate, requiring bipartisan cooperation. 

These big bonding bills usually come up in even-numbered years. But last year, the Legislature failed to pass a bonding bill in the final minutes of the session, and had to take it up again this year.

See all the bonding measures that passed here.