Calling it one of the strongest sets of wage theft protections for workers in the country, Minnesota legislators hailed the passage of bipartisan legislation significantly increasing the penalties for and severity of wage theft in the North Star State. In addition making wage theft a felony, the legislation provides sufficient funding to double the number of inspectors charged with uncovering and pursuing allegations of wage theft within industries with high levels of wage theft claims. Labor Commissioner Nancy Leppink identified those specifically as labor-intensive occupations such as construction and hospitality. Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party Governor Tim Walz wasted little time before signing the bill into law and state Attorney General Keith Ellison has already opened a new wage unit within his office that will be charged with identifying some of the estimated 39,000 cases of wage theft occurring annually in the state. And elsewhere in Minnesota, the St. Paul City Council is considering legislation that would create a new division within the Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Department, to “help businesses prepare for the city’s higher minimum wage and publish information online about the city’s labor standard laws.” That sounds an awful lot like more vigorously enforcing the minimum wage, paid leave and other worker-favorable laws.