In the blink of a political eye, the Minnesota legislature has completed its policy work in committee and now turns its focus to the major fiscal items left on the docket: a bonding bill, a transportation bill, and a tax bill. For BATC, the short policy window provided a few opportunities to advance housing affordability measures:
Housing Moratorium Notice – HF 2585/SF 2695 provides a standard notice and public hearing prior to a moratorium on housing-related projects, and also requires a 2/3 vote to impose the housing moratorium. The bill has made deadline in the House and now sits on the House floor, while the Senate companion was laid over in committee. BATC continues to work with legislators on this issue as we move on from committee discussion and into the next phase of session.
Home Ownership Initiative – HF 3520 provides several measures of transparency and builder/homeowner communication prior to a legal action for a defect in a condo or townhome association. These are all aimed at creating a better risk-management environment for condo and townhome developments. All sides agree on the need for more multi-family development, the focus now moves to finding a fair balance that all sides can agree to. Look for this issue to headline the 2017 legislative agenda.
Construction Careers – HF 3658 was introduced late and is moving through the process, potentially on its way to a supplemental spending bill by the end of session. The bill allocates $1 million to the Construction Careers Foundation, a trades-based group in St. Paul and instructs them to create programs promoting the construction industry for middle and high-school students in Minnesota. This is a good start to address this issue and hopefully something that BATC and other housing/construction groups can build upon as we attempt to address the workforce issues in our industry.