But after reading media accounts of the June 24, 2014, Minnesota Legislative Wrap-Up for District 32 hosted by the City of North Branch Economic Development Authority and the North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, it's hard to fault him for skipping out.
In the Chisago County Press, Denise Martin reported on Thursday in Legislative business forum takes Town Hall twist:
The North Branch Chamber of Commerce and city hall co-hosted an information session last week meant for area businesspeople to get questions answered about any new measures affecting the business world.
State Representatives Bob Barrett, Brian Johnson and Senator Sean Nienow were slated to appear and interact with business community members at the North Branch Library. Sen. Nienow was a no-show, and unfortunately, the bulk of the event lacked any useful information about how new legislative actions will be administered or implemented or what businesspeople should know. Attendees though, did hear Reps. Barrett and Johnson’s thoughts on minimum wage.
Both lawmakers opposed the bill that eventually passed; setting Minnesota on a course for a minimum wage (conditioned on a number of factors) of $9.50 an hour by 2016. There are exemptions for small employer workforces, part time teen workers, etc.
Rep. Johnson, R-Cambridge, told the audience he basically does not support mandating anything of employers. He responded to one man asking about Johnson’s no vote on sick time expansion (HF568) -- saying employers who want to keep good workers will treat them well. The state has no role in that relationship.
One really has to wonder where the man studied American history.
Or learned about the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which Johnson must also consider huge imposition on larger employers.
Read the rest at the Chisago County Press. Far more bland coverage is found in the Isanti County News and other ECM Publishing venues' Legislators update area business leaders by Urmila Ramakrishnan, although the general negativity on the part of the two Republican state representatives is clear:
State Rep. Brian Johnson, R-Cambridge, and Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Lindstrom, talked about how government spending would affect local businesses at a business legislative update last week.
The forum at the North Branch Public Library June 24 was held to update local business owners and the general public on how the new laws would change their businesses. . .
Possibly the most important discussion point was how the increase in minimum wage would impact businesses. The law increases minimum wage to $8 by Aug. 1 and up to $9.50 by August 2016. The wage could also increase based on inflation. Both Johnson and Barrett were against this change, saying it would hurt small businesses and force them to hire fewer employees. . . .
Photo: Child mill workers by Lewis Hine. Does Brian Johnson think it's unfortunate that the government interfered with that private arrangement between job creators and workers?