Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota (LA-MN) lutheranadvocacmn.org
SPECIAL SESSION #2: A carefully negotiated bipartisan $1.8 billion bipartisan bonding/tax bill failed the supermajority needed by six votes in the House of Representatives.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has been holding bonding as leverage to force an end to the governor’s COVID emergency powers. House & Senate leaders hoped that a bipartisan bill could help House Republicans defy the Minority leader (we know of some who wanted to vote for the bill). However, the bill went down on a House party-line vote, despite Senate passage with broad bipartisan support.
Watch for mid-August’s Special Session when we get to do this all over again!
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Given bonding bill defeat, Housing Infrastructure Bonds and Public Housing bonds were unable to move forward. Although amounts never made it to the levels we were advocating, $100 million was included for housing infrastructure and $16 million for public housing (significantly higher than where the Senate had been).
We appreciate our advocates’ efforts to increase housing bonds, push leaders to bipartisan agreement, and thank several leaders from both parties for their diligent work.
COVID EMERGENCY & HOUSING: Gov. Walz announced $100 million of CARES Act federal funding will be used for housing assistance. Nevertheless, if Congress doesn’t reinstate extra unemployment funding, many Minnesotans will default on rent. (Please see ELCA Advocacy’s alerts on those federal negotiations!).
CLEAN ENERGY: Several small(ish) projects that could help the transition to clean renewable energy also don’t pass without bonding.
POLICE REFORM: A bill banning most chokeholds, requiring intervention to prevent excessive force by fellow officers, and outlawing “warrior training” passed despite huge differences in positions. Various legislators want to come back to deeper racism dismantling within policing structures, and we hope to engage these concerns.