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After five months of work the Minnesota Legislature has a few things yet to finish. Governor Dayton, Majority Leader Gazelka and Speaker Daudt agreed to a global deal for the remainder of the budget bills prior to the constitutionally-mandated adjournment at midnight. Special session is expected to convene at 12:01 AM and finish the remainder of their work by 7 AM on Wednesday.
The 2017 session marked a major strategic pivot for BATC as we partnered with the Minnesota REALTORS and created the Homeownership Initiative, a collection of common-sense proposals aimed at increasing first-time homebuyer opportunities and housing affordability for all Minnesotans. On the heels of a historically successful election effort in 2016, the Homeownership Initiative found early momentum which held steady throughout session.
The result from this strategy was the elevation of the housing industry in a new and powerful way. Though it must wait on final action from the Governor, the Homeownership Initiative has exceeded our expectations and is poised to bring meaningful help to our industry. We are extremely pleased to share these results:
This year’s legislative session provided a powerful opportunity for discussion and consideration of priorities. Housing and homeownership was and will continue to be a part of this conversation thanks to our work.
Remove Barriers to Developing Owner-Occupied Condos/Townhomes-Provides common sense policy provisions which balance lawsuit risk for developers and enhance best practices for Home Owner Associations. RESULT: PASSED BY LEGISLATURE – AWAITS FINAL ACTION BY GOVERNOR
Public Notice for Housing Moratorium– Requires a 10-day public notice and a public hearing prior to a city imposing a housing moratorium. RESULT: PASSED BY LEGISLATURE – AWAITS FINAL ACTION BY GOVERNOR
First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account– Provide state tax deduction, up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for married joint filers, for the amounts deposited in a designated first-time home buyer savings account, as well as the interest income. RESULT: AWAITING ACTION BY LEGISLATURE VIA THE OMNIBUS TAX BILL
Rulemaking Review Oversight– Provides for review and legislative for any proposed housing rule (Energy Code, RRP Lead Paint, Stormwater, etc) that impacts a homeowner by $1,000 or more. RESULT: PASSED MN HOUSE FLOOR & POSITIONED TO ADVANCE IN 2018
Twin Home Sprinkler Fix, Continuation of BATC v DLI– Removes sprinkler requirement for twin homes, aligning the state’s policy with the court’s direction in the BATC v DLI court decision. RESULT: SIGNED INTO LAW & IN EFFECT
The Governor has a 10-day review period that allows for final action on bills passed in the closing days of session and we await final resolution in the special session.
Beyond this, our work continues as we execute our strategic plan across our modern, comprehensive advocacy program. The Housing First Network’s issue advocacy communications will leverage the momentum from the 2017 legislature to continue our pro-housing messaging. We’re also looking forward to joining the growing caucus of housing champion legislators who have expressed interest in building on the progress we made in this session. With the legislature adjourned, attention also turns to the 2018 elections where Minnesota will elect our next Governor. Housing First will be deeply engaged in this process to elevate our industry and identify a pro-housing candidate.
To our members who served on committees, reached out to legislators, attended Housing Day at the Capitol and continue to support our efforts in big and small ways — THANK YOU! Our housing movement is fueled by the passionate professionals that make up the housing industry — the most important industry in the state.
As BATC’s Political Engagement Manager, Mark Foster, is your contact for grassroots political, policy, and advocacy affairs. Follow Mark on Twitter @robmarkfoster