Builders Association of MN Mid-Session Report

Forrest Cyr, Director of Government Affairs and Communications

After years of renovations, Minnesota’s Capitol Building has reopened to the public, to widespread acclaim. With the 2017 Legislative Session halfway through, a new sense of spirit has spread throughout the beautiful Capitol, reinvigorating the many legislators, staff, lobbyists, and public that arrive everyday. Contrasting the 2016 session, which was confined to the hallways and offices of the two legislative office buildings, the 2017 session finds the awe-inspiring rotunda and grand corridors or the Capitol once again filled with life, energy, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Following the contentious 2016 election, new faces from all over Minnesota look out from behind the desks in the Senate and House chambers, ready to work hard for their districts and the state. The urgency to pass meaningful legislation for Minnesota is evident from all involved in the process. Working with friends of the homebuilding industry in the House and Senate, progress has been made for housing in Minnesota, and Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) staff is excited to continue to work hard for you and your business at the Minnesota Legislature.

Townhome Definition – HF792/SF578

 A top session priority for the BAM, bills to change the definition of a townhome from two connected units to three, have passed through the relevant committees in the House and Senate, and are awaiting consideration by both bodies of the legislature on the floor. SF578 and HF792 promote home-ownership by increasing the availability of market-rate affordable housing throughout Minnesota by reducing costly regulations required for construction.

Authored by industry members Rep. Tama Theis (R – St. Cloud) and Sen. Rich Draheim (R – Madison Lake), HF792 and SF578 moved quickly through the committee process, thanks to the leadership of these two exemplary lawmakers. Working with stakeholders, the bill was amended in the House Jobs Committee to direct the Department of Labor and Industry to change the definition in code, rather than in statute, as well as put a stay on enforcement while the code change process occurs.

Penalties for Unlicensed Builders –HF1119/SF1533

 In its ongoing effort to help protect MN’s consumers, BAM seeks to increase the penalty for those operating as a residential contractor without obtaining proper licensure.  In addition, this will put the industry on par with its real estate peers and assist enforcement agencies working to stop unlicensed activity.

Currently a misdemeanor, BAM advocates to reclassify this offense as a gross misdemeanor to align the penalties with comparable professions, deter unlicensed builders with stricter penalties, and encourage enforcement. Sen. Draheim (R – Madison Lake) and Rep. Theis (R – Saint Cloud) are once again the chief authors for industry priority bills (they’re awesome!). The bill has met the first deadline (March 10) in the House, and is scheduled for hearings in the Senate the week of March 13. Heard in the House Commerce committee on March 7, HF1119 set a BAM record for quickest hearing, clocking in at just under 3 minutes for bill passage! Way to go, BAM team!

Interim Ordinance Public Notice – HF330/SF201

 Working with our real estate industry partners, BAM has worked to pass legislation that increases transparency and communication between municipalities and interested parties. This bill, carried by Rep. Jim Nash (R – Waconia), and Sen. Dan Hall (R – Burnsville), requires public notice and authorization by a super majority vote of city council members before a housing moratorium can be implemented. The House of Representatives passed the bill on an 87-44 vote. The bill awaits consideration by the Senate.

Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act – HF1538/SF1455

 BAM is working alongside a coalition of interested stakeholders to pass the MN Common Interest Ownership Act (MNCIOA), which will help spur development of owner-occupied multi-family developments by reducing the risk of HOA inspired litigation. The bill passed the Civil Law committee in the House on Thursday, March 2! Rep. Dennis Smith (R – Maple Grove) authors the bill in the House. In the Senate, Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL – Minneapolis), with Sen. Warren Limmer (R – Maple Grove) as co-author, authors the bill. Work is being done to get a hearing on this bill in the Senate during the crucial second deadline week.

Legislative Oversight of Rulemaking Process – HF1001/SF745

 BAM, along with BATC, is advocating for a bill that would require legislative oversight of the rulemaking process for any provision that would increase the cost of housing by $1000 or more. The bill seeks to increase the affordability of housing more Minnesota’s homebuyers. The bill, carried by Rep. Bob Vogel (R – Elko New Market) and Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R – Big Lake), has successfully passed each originating committee in the House and Senate, with more hearings upcoming.

 Stay tuned for updates from Saint Paul! Contact Forrest at 612-248-4463, or at with any questions, or if you’d like to be added to our mailing list to have updates from the Capitol sent to your inbox!


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