ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Republicans are moving to block cities from implementing their own sick leave policies or minimum wage hikes.

The effort comes amid mandatory sick leave requirements that are set to take effect this summer in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Both cities are also home to long-brewing efforts to raise wages to as much as $15 hourly.

Republicans say a patchwork of different regulations across the state is confusing and costly for businesses. Opponents packed inside a Senate panel's Monday hearing on a bill that would give the state sole power over those policies. A House committee passed similar legislation last week.

The GOP has been bolstered by their rise to complete control of the Legislature and is backed by the state's powerful business lobbying organizations.

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