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.
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.
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.
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.
Bills of Interest Introduced
- Electric plug-in vehicle charging stations multiunit housing
facilities study requirement
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/
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.