From MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE: Minnesota's Senate passed a bill that would extend 12 weeks of paid leave to new parents and sick workers, a top priority for Democrats this year that faces slim odds of becoming law due to Republican resistance. Many large Minnesota companies already offer some form of paid leave, but Democrats who control the Senate say it's inconsistent and leaves many families unable to take time off due to illness, caring for a sick family member or after having a child. Funded by a new tax on employers and worker income, the bill would set up a fund to replace lost wages for up to 12 weeks of leave starting in 2020. Businesses with less than 20 employees could opt out of the system. ... Major business organizations like the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce fought the proposal, arguing that employers, many of which are already voluntarily offering paid leave to workers, are better suited to craft a system that works for them.