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Minn. panel may hold up state employee contracts

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Republican-led legislative panel may put new contracts for more than 27,000 state employees on hold at a hearing on Thursday.

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The Subcommittee on Employee Relations is scheduled to vote on the two-year contracts for the two largest state employee unions.

At a hearing earlier this month, Republicans who dominate the panel reacted skeptically to a 2 percent pay raise for all state employees starting in January.

They also questioned whether health care benefits are too generous. The contracts would make employees pay more health care costs out of pocket, but the state would keep paying the full cost of health insurance premiums for employees and 85 percent for dependents.

The panel's decision won't be the last word on the contracts, which will go before the full Legislature next January.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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