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Governor Walz and legislative leaders missed their first of many end-of-session deadlines last night when they failed to agree on budget targets for many major areas including education, healthcare and transportation. While this deadline was self-imposed, it sent a signal that the coming days will be difficult as they negotiate budgets and policy. Their final deadline comes on May 20, when the legislature is constitutionally mandated to adjourn.
Last week, each legislative chamber advanced their respective omnibus bills that are currently being discussed in conference committees. The differences remain stark as each chamber has their priorities.
As for housing-related provisions, there are still many pieces that are still in the mix that your Housing First Minnesota advocacy team are involved with.
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. 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.
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.