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CAI-MN Legislative Update - March 7, 2014

Posted By CAI-MN LAC, Friday, March 14, 2014

Good afternoon,

 

It was a busy week for CAI-MN in regards to HF1941 (Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation). First of all I want to thank Gene and Greg for coming down to the Capitol this week to pitch in on this bill. The House Civil Law Committee took the bill up on Wednesday morning and as expected, the bill was passed out by the committee on a party line vote of 9-7. The bill received a condensed 30 minute hearing with opposition lining up to testify against the bill. The committee focused on the civil law portion of the bill and testifiers received a few minutes each to make their pleas. In the end, the overwhelming opposition to the bill was unsuccessful in stopping it from advancing. A few members that voted for the bill asked that the author continue to work with opposition of the bill before it is heard in the House Government Operations Committee. Rep. Dehn agreed that he would and the bill was sent on its way. Following the hearing we received a call to attend a meeting on Thursday morning with Rep. Dehn and others that have issues with the bill. CAI-MN was one of three parties in the room which included the MN Homeownership Center counselors and the MN BAR Association.

 

Greg and Gene did a great job laying out our concerns to Rep. Dehn and explained some of the reasoning behind our request for a carve out to the mediation process for secondary lien holders. Both the BAR and counselors agreed with a number of our issues as well as explaining a number of their own issues. Rep. Dehn said that they will be working on another draft over the weekend. He would not guarantee that we would like all of the changes but was hopeful that we will be happy with some. The effort to make changes is coming from advice from his colleagues, as a handful have mentioned that the bill needs serious work. While some changes are coming forward, I expect opposition to still be strong as a number of the financial institutions who have been leading the opposition were not contacted to work on the bill.

 

A group of us lobbyist have been meeting this week to discuss the bill and its path. The House Government Operations committee is the next stop and this committee is where the bill died last year. Members on both sides of the aisle have been talked to regarding the work that remains on this bill and that no Senate companion exists. We are working with a few to ask the chair not to bring it up as it is not ready and support is weak, along with the fact they have a number of bills that have support and companions that need to get heard. No date has been set for a hearing yet. As soon as I hear a date, I will share it all with you. We will also be working on a member alert to get calls and emails out to members on the committee.

 

Members of the LAC also continue to work on the HOA Solar bill that was discussed at the last LAC meeting. Once again a big thanks to John and Michael as they have been working on changes and suggestions on this language. John has taken a lead on this and has arranged a meeting with the supporters and House bill author next week. We hope that we can come to some agreement on the language. Once we receive the latest version we will get it out to all LAC members for review.

 

Other Bills of Interest Introduced

HF2380/SF2354 - Electric plug-in vehicle charging stations multiunit housing facilities study requirement

 

Statewide News

 

-Governor Mark Dayton’s agenda for the “Unsession” was introduced during a Tuesday morning press conference.

 

His ideas for reforming and simplifying state government include more than 1,000 adjustments to policies already on the books. These notions originated from ideas put forth by citizens, public employees and legislators. The administration has been negotiating with lawmakers up until the start of the new legislation session. With the publication of this agenda, Governor Dayton and his team have passed the process on to the legislature. The package would alter executive branch’s process for rulemaking as well as the process for approving business permits. It also calls on state agencies to use clear and simple language whenever possible, emphasizing state documents, forms and websites.

More information on Governor Dayton’s proposals can be found on the Governor’s Unsession webpage: http://mn.gov/governor/unsession/

 

-House Passes Tax Relief Bill

On Thursday, the House passed a bipartisan tax relief bill that would repeal a number of new taxes that went into effect last year as well as others that are set to kick in on April 1. Along with relief, the bill would conform the state’s individual income tax and corporate franchise tax retroactive to tax year 2013. While the $503 million tax bill did include bipartisan support and only receive two “no” votes, many members said the bill was a good start and did not go far enough as they would like to see more of the state’s surplus go back to the people.

 

House Tax Chair Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) did mention that a possible second bill could still come this session. The bill that the House passed off the floor on Thursday did not include gift and estate taxes as well as others that the Governor proposed. While the House contemplates a second bill, the attention now shifts to the Senate where the plan is a little less clear. Senate Tax Chair Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) mentioned that they expect to pass their version of the tax relief bill out by the end of the month. Many will be watching as the tax deadline looms and many are beginning to file their taxes if they have not already done so for 2013.

 

Hearings regarding conformity and tax repeals are expected to continue next week in the Senate.

Tags:  legislative  Minnesota 

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