BAM Legislative Update

Housing affordability and the negative impact regulations have on home ownership and housing was the featured topic for Week 6 of the legislative session. It was a busy week and we expect to keep up same pace during Week 7. Below are a few things BAM has been working on.

Affordable Housing Hearings: There were two hearings regarding housing affordability and regulatory costs. The morning hearing in the House was comprehensive and a multi-perspective of affordability (or lack thereof) in housing. Steve Noble (CMBA & 2019 BAM President) and Mike Paradise (RAB & 2015 BAM President) did a really nice job giving concrete examples of the impact of the energy code and infrastructure funding. It has become apparent that the energy code has become a big conversation at the Capitol not only at this hearing, but in other conversations as well.  The afternoon hearing in the Senate focused more about the Price Out study that Housing First MN prepared. Steve closed the hearing’s list of testifiers with very authentic testimony and a real world perspective.  

Steve was also able to spend the day with BAM, which was great to connect with legislators and opened the door to have unique conversations about what BAM is working on. We invite you to do the same if you want to spend the morning or afternoon with us. Special guests change the conversational dynamic and help promote BAM initiatives. 

Construction Careers: Last week Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) successfully passed SF293 out of the Senate Education Finance & Policy committee and passed to the Jobs & Economic Growth Finance & Policy committee. This bill is one of our top priorities for 2019 and are now waiting for the bill to receive additional committee hearings. 

Legacy Grant Coordinated Watershed Management: This week in the Environment & Natural Resources Finance Division, HF875 authored by Representative Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) was heard. This bill requests for legacy grant money to allow for coordinated management of the many (and often redundant) watershed permitting agencies. This bill defines what a comprehensive local water management plan is and adds surface water and groundwater interactions among other items to the list of considerations that must be made when setting priorities.

404 Assumption: SF962, authored by Senator Mathews (R-Milaca) and heard this week in the Environment & Natural Resources Finance Committee pertains to the state assuming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Federal Clean Water Act permitting authority. The idea of Minnesota taking over the federal government’s role in this aspect of water permitting has been around for several years now and finally may be getting traction.  The bill allows for the state and federal permitting systems to be consolidated to reduce redundancy and duplication.

Construction Tax ExemptionHF7670 sponsored by Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL- Golden Valley) provides a sale tax exemption for building and construction materials/supplies brought by contractors and subcontractors for a government projects such as schools, libraries, nursing homes, and public infrastructure such as water, sewer, and road infrastructure. This bill was heard in the House Taxes Committee this week and laid over by the committee. 

BAM Priorities: BAM has 16 bills (8 House and 8 Senate) we are pushing this legislative session that are geared toward improving statewide code administration and builder licensing compliance. At this point, we have both a Senator and Representative ready to drop these bills. Additionally, we are working with the Reviser’s office with Representative Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul)’s approval to draft a bill pertaining to the best use of the funds held in the Contract Recovery Fund. We have made great progress on all of these bills and look forward to the upcoming weeks. 

Committee deadlines for 2019:  Last week the three deadlines for committees to complete their business for the session were unveiled: March 15th, March 29th, and April 12th. As a reminder the legislature must complete its work by May 20th this year. We now have one month until the first deadline so we expect committee hearings to ramp up even more in the next few weeks. 


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