MHP State and Federal Legislative Updates series is a vital source of information about housing policy at the state and federal levels. These calls bring together housing practitioners and advocates, state lawmakers, national researchers, and members of Congress every other Friday to discuss urgent and emerging housing issues.
Held virtually, these calls are open to anyone who cares about housing in Minnesota.
Past events in the series:
Date: Apr. 30, 2021
Guests: MN Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL - Mankato), ThaoMee Xiong of the City of St. Paul, MN Sen. Mark Johnson and Ryan Baumtrog of Minnesota Housing
Summary: We were joined by Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL – Mankato) who spoke to the likelihood of a June special session, as well as the need to prioritize housing in both the state budget and the allocation of Federal resources from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Next, ThaoMee Xiong, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the City of St. Paul provided an update on several racial equity initiatives at the legislature including bonding.We also welcomed Sen. Mark Johnson (R – East Grand Forks) who gave high level insights into negotiations on budget targets and how his caucus may prioritize incoming ARP Funds. Finally, we were joined by Ryan Baumtrog, Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Community at Minnesota Housing who offered reflections on the agency’s priorities and emphasized the need for a variety of new housing investments.
Date: Apr. 30, 2021
Guests: MN Sen. Carla Nelson (R - Rochester), Peter Callaghan of MinnPost and Sarah Truedahl of Research at Policy Link
Summary: We were joined by Sarah Truedahl, Vice President of Research at Policy Link who introduced a new rent debt dashboard. The National Equity Atlas has partnered with the Right to the City Alliance to produce a new rent debt dashboard that equips advocates and policymakers with timely data on the extent of renter debt and the characteristics of households affected by it. To learn more, visit the dashboard and read the accompanying analysis. We were also joined by Sen. Carla Nelson (R - Rochester) who provided her perspective on the end of the legislative session and outlined several tax proposals including the Affordable Housing Tax Credit and 4d Affordable Housing Incentive. Finally, we welcomed Peter Callaghan of MinnPost who provided context to where Minnesota is at in its legislative session and what can be expected as we enter end of session negotiations.
Date: Apr. 9, 2021
Guests: Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty, Nan Madden of Minnesota Budget Project, Brett Grant of Voices for Racial Justice and MN Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL - Minneapolis)
Summary: We were joined by Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty who gave an outline on the tax provisions of Governor Walz’s COVID-19 recovery budget, and provided insights into housing tax provisions proposed by the legislature. We were also joined by members of the Together We Rise campaign. Nan Madden, Director of the Minnesota Budget Project provided an overview of the campaign and Brett Grant, Director of Research and Policy with Voices for Racial Justice emphasized the need to think of the state's budget through a framework of racial equity. Finally, Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL - Minneapolis) provided personal perspectives on housing policy and her vision for work in housing, taxes, and capital investments.The Representative highlighted her priorities during her first year at the legislature and what might still be opportunities for this session.
Date: Mar. 19, 2021
Guests: Eric Hauge of HOME Line, MN Sen. Carla Nelson (R - Rochester), MN Rep. Paul Marquart (D - Dilworth) and Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho
Summary: We were joined by Eric Hauge, Executive Director, of HOME Line who provided an overview of HOME Line's work to ensure protections for renters are in place. Next, we were joined by Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), Chair of Senate Taxes, although we did not get to finish our interview due to technical difficulties. Senator Nelson sends her greetings and her hope to participate in a future call with an MHP audience. Rep. Paul Marquart (DFL - Dilworth) who serves as Chair of the House Taxes Committee, joined and provided his view of key taxes issues for this session and the future, including tax and housing proposals such as renter's credit, 4d, and aid to counties for housing. Finally, Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho encouraged advocates to continue to engage as we enter "game time" at the Minnesota legislature; she also provided critical updates on Minnesota Housing's implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance program for Minnesota.
Date: Mar. 5, 2021
Guests: MN Sen. Zach Duckworth (R - Lakeville), MN Rep. Michael Howard (D - Richfield) and Ben Passer of Fresh Energy and Metric Giles of Community Stabilization Project
Summary: Sen. Zach Duckworth (R - Lakeville) and Rep. Michael Howard (DFL - Richfield) joined us to highlight the housing priorities of their respective caucuses; with budget targets for committees soon forthcoming, the lawmakers identified challenges ahead in negotiating to agreement even as both emphasized their commitment to housing affordability. Our remaining speakers emphasized the connection between energy and housing affordability and race equity issues embedded within. MHP welcomed Ben Passer of Fresh Energy who provided an overview of the Minnesota Multifamily Affordable Housing Network (MMAHEN) and its work to center equity in both energy and housing. Metric Giles of Community Stabilization Project closed out our program with a powerful call for strategic investments and intentional inclusion of race equity in policy formation, as well as an overview of CSP's work.
Date: Feb. 19, 2021
Guests: U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar (D - Minneapolis), MN Rep. Fue Lee (D - Minneapolis) and Jon Gutzmann
Summary: U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar highlighted the most up to date actions from the federal level and outlined what might be in store for the coming months. MHP also welcomed Chair of the Minnesota House of Representative's Capital Investment Committee Rep. Fue Lee. Chair Lee emphasized the need for robust housing investments through bonding and encouraged advocates to continue to build momentum by engaging their legislators. Finally, we heard from St. Paul PHA's Executive Director, Jon Gutzmann, who outlined the needs and challenges currently facing public housing.
Date: Feb. 5, 2021
Guests: Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho, Sen. Rich Draheim (R - Northfield), Dave Anderson of All Parks Alliance for Change and Natividad Seefeld of Park Plaza Cooperative
Summary: We heard reflections on the governors proposed budget and accompanying policy proposals from Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho. Next, Chair of the Minnesota Senate Housing Finance and Policy Committee Sen. Rich Draheim outlined his priorities for this legislative session and emphasized the need to think outside the box. Finally, Dave Anderson, Executive Director of All Parks Alliance for Change and Natividad Seefeld, President of Park Plaza Cooperative provided an overview of the proposed state policy changes around manufactured housing and what those changes could mean for residents.
Date: Jan. 22, 2021
Guests: Rep Kaohly Her (D - St. Paul), Rep. Aisha Gomez (D - Minneapolis), Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin and Sarah Saadian
Summary: We were honored to hear from state lawmakers House Majority Whip Kaohly Her (D - St. Paul), and Chair of the Preventing Homelessness Division Rep. Aisha Gomez (D - Minneapolis). Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe discussed housing challenges experienced by Native communities. And, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Vice President of Public Policy, Sarah Saadian, provided an update on advocacy for emergency rental assistance and the next phase of COVID relief advocacy efforts.
Date: Jan. 3, 2021
Guests: Sen. Tina Smith, Reps. Alice Hausman and Tama Theis
Summary: Senator Smith highlighted key provisions in the recent Federal COVID relief funding package. Sen. Smith played a pivotal role in securing the inclusion of several priorities in the final bill, including the Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act and the Native American Housing Affordability Act. MHP also welcomed Rachel Robinson and Jessica Deegan of Minnesota Housing who provided updates on federal resources for Minnesota from the recent COVID Relief and FY21 spending bill. Finally, MHP was honored to host the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of the Minnesota House of Representative's Housing Finance and Policy Committee. Chair Hausman (DFL- St. Paul) and Representative Theis (R - St. Cloud) discussed their housing priorities and how their visions for the committee align with their respective caucus' agenda. Having served multiple terms each, both shared their insights and predictions for what to expect this session.