Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says the Minnesota Senate will approve state employees’ new contracts before Easter. The House has been resistant but he predicts they’ll move in the same direction. Gazelka’s comment came as AFSCME union members packed the State Capitol Rotunda Tuesday afternoon, St. Cloud corrections counselor Zack Frank telling his fellow union members, “Take a look at this sea of AFSCME green. Take a look around you. It’s a sea of power!”
Gazelka says lawmakers were waiting for the Dayton administration to confirm that salary increases — two and 2.25 percent in each of the next two years — will come from existing state agency budgets and no new appropriation is needed this year. “That was one of the issues that we wanted clarification on and we do [have it], and so we’re ready to move forward,” he says.