Session Scoop: Picking up the pace post-Governor’s budget

Week 7 of the legislative session is complete, and the pace of the legislature is picking up. The Governor’s budget was released February 19, identifying the Governor’s priorities and starting the debate among lawmakers as to what priorities will make it to the finish line. 

With the first legislative session deadline for hearing bills fast approaching on March 15, committees in the House and Senate are picking up the pace for hearing bills that will be laid over for consideration. This coming week, a slew of housing bills will be heard in Senate and House committees. Bills to increase the Challenge fund, Homework Starts with Home, homeownership opportunities, and more will be heard, with details below. 

Come and show your support! The Tax Credit Contribution Fund for Affordable Housing (HF 1156) will be heard in the House Taxes Committee on Wednesday, February 27 at 8am in Rm 5 of the State Office Building. Email Elizabeth if you can attend. 

Please join us at the Capitol and let lawmakers know you support affordable homes for Minnesota families!

How did housing fare in the Governor’s budget? 

Governor Walz’s $133.6 million investment in affordable housing through the 2020-21 biennial budget – the most of any governor in state history – signals that affordable housing is more prominent than ever before. However, after years of state investments that don’t keep pace with the need, more is needed to close the gap. 

While Governor Walz proposed critical spending increases for several Minnesota Housing programs including Homework Starts with Home and the Challenge Program, his budget includes none of the Homes for All-requested increases to key Department of Human Services (DHS) programs that prevent homelessness (except for an important $2 million increase for a database that tracks homelessness data). Programs that did not receive crucial budget increases include the Emergency Services Program, Long-term Homeless Supportive Services, the Homeless Youth Act and more.  

Read more from Session Daily for a summary of the Governor’s proposed housing investments. Check out a detailed side-by-side comparison of Homes for All agenda items and Governor Walz’s proposed budget. Read the Homes for All coalition response to Governor Walz’s budget. 

Good news: State match for Local Housing Trust Funds gaining momentum! 

We’re excited to announce that a measure to create a state match for Local Housing Trust Funds (HF 1402) was introduced in the House this week. Thanks to Chief Author Rep. Mike Howard (DFL-Richfield/Bloomington) for advancing this important tool! Next, the bill will head to the Committee on Ways and Means. Another positive sign: Governor Walz included a one-time $2 million appropriation for a state match for Local Housing Trust Funds in his budget. Stay tuned! 

BILLS TO WATCH 

  • Reps Hornstein, Jurgens and Her introduced: HF 1574, preventing housing displacement, requiring rental housing projects financed at least in part by the Housing Finance Agency to be affordable for at least 30 years. Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. 
  • Reps Hassan, Her, Gomez, Moran and Davnie introduced: HF 1511, relating to expungement for eviction case court files and more. Referred to the Housing Finance and Policy Division. 
  • Reps Howard, Kunesh-Podein, Sauke and Theis introduced: HF 1571, modifying the procedures for closing or modifying the use of manufactured home parks and more. Referred to the Housing Finance and Policy Division. 
  • Senators Draheim, Dziedzic, Frentz, Goggin, and Weber introduced: SF 1577, appropriating money to the Housing Finance Agency for housing programs. Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy. SF 1577 is the package bill for MHFA appropriations championed by the Homes for All coalition! Thank you Sen. Draheim (R-Madison Lake) and co-authors! 
  • Senators Goggin, Frentz, Lang, Johnson, and Draheim introduced: SF 1611, Appropriating money for housing supports for persons with a mental illness. Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy. This another bill championed by Homes for All, funding the Bridges program and the landlord mitigation fund. 
  • Senators Draheim, Dziedzic, Johnson, Frentz, and Koran introduced: SF 1326, Appropriating money to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for the challenge grant program. Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance. This is a standalone bill for the Challenge Program Increase. SF1577 is the package bill. 

HOUSING-RELATED HEARINGS 

Past hearings

  • On Tuesday, February 29, the House Education Finance Division held an educational hearing on the Homework Starts with Home initiative. Watch a recording of the hearing. 

Upcoming hearings

  • Be part of the action on Tuesday, February 26 at 3pm in Rm 1150 of the MN Senate Building when the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee hears testimony on SF 942 (workforce and affordable homeownership and development), SF 239 and SF 469 (manufactured homes), and SF 1214 (Minnesota Housing appropriation).  
  • Join the House Housing Finance and Policy Division on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 8am in Rm 200 of the State Office Building for presentations on workforce and affordable homeownership (HF 884), the Challenge Program (HF 859), and manufactured housing (HF 896). 
  • Come and show your support! The Tax Credit Contribution Fund for Affordable Housing (HF 1156) will be heard in the House Taxes Committee on Wednesday, February 27 at 8am in Rm 5 of the State Office Building. Email Elizabeth if you can attend! 

GET ENGAGED

Get the inside scoop from MHP’s policy team with our Legislative Update Calls, which take place every other Friday at 10 a.m. Register for our next call on March 8 at 10 am! 

Sign up to advocate with MHP! Join us at the Capitol on Wednesdays, or a time that works for you. Legislators need to hear from their constituents about why affordable housing matters.  

Homeless Day on the Hill is fewer than three weeks away!

Minnesota Housing Partnership is proud to help sponsor Homeless Day on the Hill, a critical opportunity to show lawmakers our strong support for affordable homes and the #Homes4AllMN legislative agenda. Register today for an opportunity to receive advocacy training, lobby your lawmaker, and be inspired by dedicated community members and advocates.