During the 2024 Legislative Session, a new law was created that will impact the scope of lobbying and who is considered a lobbyist and lobbyist principal to possibly include Housing First Minnesota members that attempt to influence official actions at a political subdivision level (i.e. municipal governments)As a trade association, Housing First Minnesota is accustomed to registering with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board on several fronts, including as a lobbyist principal with staff lobbyists and contract lobbyists.
Currently, registration as a lobbyist is required if you are attempting to influence the official action of a “metropolitan government unit.” This only includes the seven counties, regional railroad authority, metropolitan agency, and 16 cities with a population greater than 50,000 in the metro area.
Under the new scope that includes all “political subdivisions,” this is expanded to include all counties, cities, school districts, and townships within the state.
Who could this impact?
Builders, developers, or remodelers who spend time seeking approval of a housing development or zoning changes at a municipal government, as well as attorneys and other consultants representing the builder or developer The definition of a lobbyist is an individual engaged for pay or other consideration of more than $3,000 from all sources in any year to attempt to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a political subdivision, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials. The $3,000 is cumulative, meaning if you spend $1,000 worth of time asking for approval in one city and an additional $2,000 in another city, you would cross the threshold and need to register with the Campaign Finance Board.
When does this go into effect?
The new law states an effective date of January 1, 2024. However, the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board has indicated that draft rules will not be posted until mid-January, with final approval of rules not until weeks or months after that.
What has Housing First Minnesota done?
During the legislative process, Housing First Minnesota was part of the larger government affairs, legal, and consulting group that expressed concerns about so many changes happening so fast. Additionally, Housing First Minnesota submitted comments to the Campaign Finance Board in September.
Housing First Minnesota will continue to work with the Campaign Finance Board to try to gain more clarity about who these changes will impact and how they will be structured and implemented. Watch for further communications from us as draft rules are made available.
For additional questions, contact Mark Foster, vice president of legislative & political affairs, at email@example.com.