This week, lawmakers will be on legislative break starting April 13 with legislative activity beginning 8 am on April 22. This is a great opportunity to talk to lawmakers about affordable homes and the Homes for All legislative agenda!
How to connect? Send an email or make a phone call! Bring up affordable housing when you get a chance to talk to lawmakers. Many lawmakers host legislative town halls or attend community events during legislative break to reconnect with constituents in their districts.
What to say? Here is a recommended message, which you can use in person, or for emails or phone calls.
Hello, my name is <YOUR NAME> and I live in <CITY>.
Please keep affordable homes a priority this session! More than half a million Minnesota families pay more than they can afford for housing, and that number is growing.
Please ensure affordable housing is a priority for the omnibus tax bill, housing appropriations, and bonding. Please support the Homes for All agenda and the affordable #HousingTaxCredit, proven solutions we need now in Minnesota. Don't let this legislative session end without action on housing!
Whew! This week, the legislature heads into a much needed break, with no business scheduled from April 13-April 22. Legislative activity will resume on April 23 through May 20.
This week, the House continued its work to complete omnibus bills, which will form the basis of conference committee discussions beginning after the legislature's Easter/Passover break.
The House Capital Investment Committee has forwarded a $1.5 billion bonding bill, that includes the Governor's recommendation of $150 million in bonds for housing: $120 million in housing infrastructure bonds (HIB's) and $30 million in general obligation bonds for public housing. The House bonding bill is larger than the Governor's proposal, which was $1.27 billion. There is no companion bill in the Senate, however. The legislature typically focuses on bonding during the second year of the biennium, with budget it's focus during the first year. That tradition has been disrupted in recent years, and bonding can happen in any year with a two-thirds majority to pass the House and Senate.
The House Taxes Committee approved an omnibus tax bill this week, with action on the bill in Ways and Means set for today. The bill did not include any of the multiple proposals for the tax bill to support affordable homes, such as the #HousingTaxCredit (HF 1156). Advocacy for housing in the omnibus tax bill continues, however, as Rep. John Petersburg (R-Waseca) expressed disappointment during committee that the tax bill didn’t have “enticements for investment in affordable housing.” Look for more updates on advocacy opportunities for the #HousingTaxCredit in the House. In the Senate, we are still waiting to see its version of the omnibus tax bill.
The House Housing Finance omnibus bill, HF 1151, was merged with the House Agriculture omnibus bill at the Ways & Means committee April 10th, in order to better match the Senate omnibus bill for Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance, SF 2226. The House omnibus bill will go to the House floor for action when the legislature returns from break and then be sent to conference committee, to reconcile the differences between the housing target in the House ($26 million) and the Senate ($0).
Once legislative break is over, the legislature will dive into the last weeks of the session, where priorities are narrowed to key issues of importance. Conference committees will begin to meet, with attention drawing to final negotiations. We need your voices to ensure affordable homes remain a priority through the end of session!
Have a great week and thank you for your partnership this legislative session!