Week Ten of the 2012 Legislative Session

March 30, 2012

This Week at the Capitol

This Week at the Capitol is a new series of posts containing regular updates on our advocacy efforts related to community development topics. Our policy team, as well as guest contributors from the HousingJobs campagin, will share news, events, and opportunities to get involved. 

What an exciting week at the Capitol! All week, we were eagerly awaiting (and nervously anticipating) the Senate Capital Investment Committee’s bonding bill proposal. Even HOME Line spokesperson and our friend, Bill Dingwas at the Capitol to talk about housing.

We have been hoping that it would include more than the $15 million that the House proposed and fall more in line with the original requested amount of $40 million. Ahead of that announcement, the housing advocates in the Alliance to House All Minnesotans, were very busy scheduling meetings at the Capitol and encouraging people to get in touch with their legislators.

On Tuesday, we brought a small group up to the Capitol for Speed Lobbying and were able to meet with Senators Dziedzic, Hayden, Miller, Senjem, and Torres Ray. We also met with Representatives Allen, Champion, Gunther, and Hahn. We had an especially great conversation with Senator Senjem, who not only is the Senate Majority Leader but also the Chair of the Capital Investment Committee.

The next morning, the Senate released their bonding numbers: including $36 million for housing! $30 million is for Housing Infrastructure Bonds and $6 million is for Public Housing renovations. We are thrilled—thank you to the Senators for recognizing the importance of bonding for housing this session and for all the people who made sure their voice was heard on the issue. Next, the Senate and House will negotiate a final bonding proposal to present to the Governor. We hope that the numbers stick.

The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition also had a great Day at the Capitol last week. You can read about their inspirational day on their blog. For the second year in a row, representatives from every senate district in the State were present at their lobby day. That is very impressive–great work!

We will keep you updated on the status of the bonding bill. Even though we know that $15 million, $36 million, or even the full $40 million won’t solve all of our state’s affordable housing needs, we do know that it does make a difference. A bonding commitment by the Legislature will help a number of important projects get off the ground that wouldn’t otherwise have the funding to go forward.

For those of you interested in what is happening with the Renter’s Credit (link is for Star Tribue editorial on the subject), please read updates on the Minnesota Budget Bites blog.

-Rose Teng, MCCD Policy Analysis and Research Coordinator