Housing Day at the Capitol on March 6th is one of the most important days of the year for our industry. This annual event gives industry members a chance to make a difference not only for those that work in housing, but for Minnesota homeowners as well. It is more essential than ever that we work with lawmakers to remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of homeownership and building new housing in our state.
We have two main goals for Housing Day at the Capitol:
- Share with legislators – First, we want to share with legislators all of the good work our industry does when building, remodeling, and selling homes for Minnesotans.
- Ask for support – Second, we want to ask legislators to support some of the key issues that impact housing affordability.
The event starts at the St. Paul Event Center with breakfast and a quick overview of this year’s issues. From there, we’ll load up the shuttles for our scheduled meetings with our legislators at the Capitol. If you are attending the legislative meetings, you will be notified of your meeting schedule a few days prior to the event.
9:30 AM :: Registration/Networking & Breakfast
10:00 AM :: Panel
10:45 AM :: Session Update
11:00 AM :: Presentation on State of Housing
11:15 AM :: Call to Action
12:00 PM :: Afternoon sessions/meetings* with legislators
*Please be aware that meetings are scheduled at the discretion of legislative staff. We do our best to request meeting times that are conducive for both your Representative and Senator but there is a possibility that your Senator and/or Representative may not be available during the Housing Day at the Capitol event time. If this circumstance arises, we encourage you to reach out to their Legislative Assistant directly to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting in-district.
This year, we’re bringing the housing conversation to you. Hear from our industry-leader panel on challenges the housing market is facing, how these obstacles impact their business, and where we need legislative action. Moderated by our Housing First Minnesota CEO, James Vagle, these four leaders bring unique perspectives from all corners of the Minnesota housing industry.
Bills of Concern
There are numerous bills that have the potential to decrease the supply of housing and increase the costs of homeownership. We need to advocate against these bills that would be harmful to housing and the housing industry, such bills that:
- Increase the cost of new housing construction
- Increase the cost of homeownership
- Increase the costs of doing business
- Interfere with the use, ownership, or transfer of real property
Here are 5 bills that your Housing First Minnesota team has been engaging with and that are worthy of mentioning with your legislators.
HF 1859 (Feist) /SF 1988 (Seeberger) Subcontractor Wage Enforcement Expansion
This bill would completely upend the relationship between general contractors and subcontractors. It has potential to significantly disrupt the housing industry and subsequently the housing supply of the entire state. Additionally, it would likely hamper entrepreneurship opportunities and force businesses to consider moving their work to neighboring states. Finally, the constitutionality of this bill is questionable.
HF 772 (Kraft) / SF 1368 (Port) Energy Code Chaos
A bill that has potential to create energy code chaos. This bill was originally was drafted to modify the adoption process for the energy code for new commercial buildings. But, author’s amendments that have since been adopted since have expanded the scope of the bill to include the residential code. The amended language now reads:
“The commissioner shall consider amendments to the model energy codes that mitigate the impact of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing and optimizing energy efficiency and improving resiliency of new buildings and existing buildings undergoing additions, alterations, and changes of use.”
HF 1402 (Hanson) / SF 1146 (Pratt) Street Impact Fee Authorization, New Homeownership Tax
This is a topic the industry has been engaged on for many years following the landmark ruling in Woodbury v. Harstad that ruled cities do not have the authority to charge this homeownership tax. This bill has potential to raise the cost of housing by $5,000-$10,000 per house.
HF 685 (Agbaje) / SF 365 (Boldon) Ban on Corporate Construction of Single-Family for Rent.
There are many concerns with this bill:
- Bans new single-family-for-rent construction without addressing subdivisions already approved.
- Bans new duplex and triplex construction unless one unit is homesteaded, or the entity qualifies as exempt.
- Provides builders fewer options when buyers cancel the purchased home already under construction.
- Enacts market restrictions can have unintended consequences.
- Investors often purchase properties that require significant improvements.
- Lacks any strategy on addressing how to fill the gap in production of homes.
Business Mandates: Paid Leave Program and Sick Leave Requirements
If signed into law, businesses of all sizes would see a $1 billion tax increase to be paid by employers and employees to fund a new state paid leave program. Additionally, all employers would be required to offer up to 24 weeks of paid leave to employees – 12 weeks for paid family leave and 12 weeks of medical leave each year.
While the end goal is admirable, these legislative proposals would have significant impacts on the ability of businesses to determine benefit offerings and leave. We also know that the vast majority of businesses already offer some form of paid leave. These decisions are best left to you as an employer and not the state government.
Moreover, these bills as written are simply not tenable for employers. HF2 / SF2 would create a new, mandatory 24-week paid leave program for all Minnesota employers and employees. This would make it nearly impossible to find replacement workers given the state’s historic worker shortage. Click here for fast facts on this bill. Additionally, SF 34/HF19 would require costly new sick and safe time requirements.