Locked in session since early January, the legislature has finalized its budget work and heads home until the legislature convenes again next March.
The Special Session marked the end of a successful 2015 for BATC and the homebuilding industry:
Energy Permormance Path Deal – BATC led the passage of language into the Omnibus Environment bill which paved the way to a commitment from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to coordinate and promote an energy code performance path. This will save time and money for energy code compliance by creating a code reference home for modeling and allow for some insulation trade-offs. Look for updates on this later in the Summer.
Builder Pay Attorney Fees Bill Blocked – We successfully blocked an attempt to require that builders pay attorney fees for homeowners in warranty disputes where the homeowner prevails. This type of policy would increase lawsuits and complaints, running counter to BATC’s objective of solving any warranty concerns at the earliest and most cost-effective level.
Street Improvement Districts and Fees Defeated – BATC protected new developments against costly street improvement district fees which were proposed by the League of MN Cities. This has become an annual issue as local governments continue to seek additional funds for transportation projects.
Sprinkler Battle Continues – The one major disappointment was the failure to repeal the sprinkler mandate on homes over 4500 sq ft. As we’ve seen for five years now, the Governor is simply entrenched in his belief that sprinklers are a necessary protection for our state’s firefighters. This battle continues now in the courts, where BATC will argue against the appropriateness of the sprinkler mandate in the MN Court of Appeals on July 15th.
Beyond these aforementioned items, there are several environmental, Met Council, and general industry issues that BATC engaged in throughout the session. A complete wrap-up of these items will be forwarded to the membership in the coming days.