Housing First Minnesota leaders hosted a virtual membership town hall to recap the 2023 legislative session. In what was considered by many to be one of the most challenging sessions in a generation, numerous bills were introduced and discussed that would have directly impacted the housing industry.
Speakers included James Vagle, CEO of Housing First Minnesota; Mark Foster, vice president of legislative and political affairs; Kristen Ober, communications and industry content coordinator; and Tony Wiener, chair of the advocacy committee.
The event kicked off with an update on the prevailing market conditions in both the existing and new home markets. The overall activity in the housing market has experienced a slowdown due to interest rates. However, as interest rates stabilize, potential buyers are starting to reenter the market, only to find limited inventory. Consequently, homebuilders are now increasing their production to meet the rising demand.
Then, Housing First staff and Advocacy Committee Chair Tony Weiner, Cardinal Homebuilders, provided a comprehensive recap of the various housing and industry bills that were discussed and/or signed into law during the legislative session.
Throughout the session, Housing First Minnesota has been at the forefront of defending the industry against problematic bills that could have worsened affordability issues in the state, while trying to advance housing policy modernization initiatives.
With the support of its members, the industry successfully opposed several concerning measures, including the introduction of a new housing tax (street impact fees), the expansion of the residential energy code, the prohibition of single-family-for-rent construction, and the diversion of funds from the contractor recovery fund.
However, one opposition issue did advance: a new liability requirement for wage obligations downstream throughout the subcontractor chain. This statute was the primary focus of discussion during the event as its implementation is expected to have broad implications for the industry.
The speakers provided a detailed overview of the statute’s provisions, the individuals and entities it affects, and offered guidance on how industry members can prepare for its forthcoming implementation.
You can read more about the bill here.