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Paid Medical Leave, 'slavery' wording in Constitution among issues at State Capitol

Saint Paul's Police Chief is spearheading an effort to remove the words 'slavery' from Minnesota's State Constitution.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Thursdays is shaping up to be a busy one at at the Capitol.

At 9:15 a.m., Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell will announce efforts to remove references to slavery and involuntary servitude from the Minnesota Constiution.

On New Year's Eve, Axtell announced his push for this change, saying in part,

"Article I, Section 2 reads:

“There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party has been convicted.”

This means that even today, 162 years since the State of Minnesota banned slavery and servitude, there is still an exception in our Constitution that allows it.

Slavery is not a Minnesota value."

Also happening this morning, Republicans will unveil their tax plan, followed by a floor session at 11:00 a.m.

Then, in the House, lawmakers will vote on two proposals regarding paid medical leave. One proposal covers up to 12 weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick relative. Another proposal would allow workers to earn sick time.

This issue was debated last year, but Senate Republicans stopped it from moving forward. Today, there is still a divide.

RELATED: Paid medical leave conversation returns to the Capitol

"Minnesotans leave almost half a billion dollars on the table each year with regard to lost wages from illness and taking non paid federal leave," said Rep. Laurie Halverson, a Democrat who represents Eagan. She is spearheading the effort to create a state medial leave fund.

"The alternative would be to reduce taxes on Minnesota businesses and Minnesota workers so they have more money to do more of what they're doing now, and that is taking care of themselves," said Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican representing Mazeppa.

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