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After days of closed-door negotiations Governor Walz, Speaker Hortman and Majority Leader Gazelka announced a global budget deal on Sunday night. On Monday, the legislature worked to get pieces of the agreement across the line, but they were constitutionally-mandated to adjourn the 2019 legislative session before midnight on Monday.
With that, Governor Walz has indicated that he will call a special legislative session in order for the legislature to finish up the remainder of their work, with the goal to be finished before the holiday weekend.
So what work remains? A lot.
Only one budget bill, the Higher Education bill, passed both chambers and made it to the Governor’s desk. From State Government, to Public Safety, to Health and Human Services, to Transportation, and more, conference committees must agree upon language and have each chamber vote on it before it heads to Governor Walz’s desk.
As for housing-related items. Here’s what your Housing First Minnesota advocacy team is watching.
Greater Transparency for Building Permits– A session priority was signed into law on Saturday. SF 998 allows applicants to request an estimate of the consulting fees from cities. Read more about the win for homeowners, builders and transparency.
Housing Affordability Commission – A key housing industry priority is the creation of a Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability. Under the bipartisan proposal, the multi-year Commission’s charge of reducing the cost of housing for all Minnesotans would be accomplished by identifying, analyzing, and ultimately recommending housing policies that balance safety, durability, local control and affordability. The commission would also establish Minnesota as a center of excellence in housing innovation and address racial inequities in housing. Thank you to everyone that recently reached out to the Conference Committee via our grassroots efforts. This is included in the Senate version of the State Government Omnibus Bill.
Rulemaking Oversight – For the third consecutive year the legislature has advanced a proposal that would allow the legislature to conduct oversight on any housing policy-related rulemaking process which would impact homeowners by $1,000 or more.
This is included in the Senate version of the State Government Omnibus Bill.
Contractor Continuing Ed Curriculum – An initiative to require one hour of business management strategies training into the 14 credit hours required for Minnesota contractors within their two-year licensing period has been proposed. Housing First Minnesota testified in support of the measure. This is included in both the House and Senate Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill.
Stretch Energy Codes – A bill was introduced which would allow local governments to adopt their own energy codes and exceed the statewide code requirements on commercial buildings and multi-family residential structures exceeding 10,000 sq ft. Housing First Minnesota testified in opposition to the measure, which would create a patchwork of energy requirements throughout the region and further threaten housing affordability. This is included in the House Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill.
Carpet Recycling Program- HF 2267 would require carpet manufacturers to create their own recycling program in a so-called “product stewardship” model used by the state for electronics and paint. The only other state with a program similar to this is California, where the state charges a fee on carpet sales to subsidize its recycling. This is included in the House Environment Omnibus Bill.
Retainage – A bill is on the move in both bodies would amend the state’s retainage statute. Under the bill, public and private entities are required to pay out all retainage within 60 days of substantial completion. After substantial completion, the bill would allow for withholding of up to 250 percent of the value for incomplete or defective work. This is included in both the House and the Senate Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bills.
Follow @HousingFirstMN for frequent updates from your Housing First Minnesota advocacy team.