Housing issues discussed at the Capitol

What bills did and didn’t pass the Minnesota Legislature this year?

The Minnesota Legislature concluded its session on May 19 in a flurry of activity as lawmakers hurried to meet the deadline. In the final hours, Democrats assembled a 1,400-page bill to push through some of their key priorities, prompting strong objections from Republicans. Here is a rundown of the issues that impact the industry from the 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature.

Independent contractor changes in the construction industry: Despite broad construction industry opposition, language that will change the current nine-factor test determining independent contractor status to a 14-factor test passed as a part of a larger omnibus bill. Additionally, this language has many pieces to it that would include severe penalties for violations of misclassifications. 

License to paint: Language that would have required certain paint contractors to sit for an exam to get a license to buy certain types of paint was originally introduced and scheduled for a hearing. The bill was later withdrawn and never heard in either chamber.

Preempting municipalities from banning natural gas in residential construction: This language would protect natural gas as a fuel source for residential construction. It was heard in the Senate but ultimately did not pass.

Residential Energy Code changes: A bill that would change how the residential energy code is adopted was included in a larger omnibus bill. Expect further discussion on this item within the Department of Labor and Industry for many years.

Ban on new single-family for rent: This topic gained some coverage last year and would have originally not allowed the construction of new construction of single-family homes that would be rentals. There was language adopted to create exemptions for builders and developers who do this type of work. Ultimately, the bill did not pass this year.

Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan fix: Cities, developers and environmental groups worked together to earn a legislative fix following the court’s dismissal of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The bill passed as part of a larger omnibus bill and will put to rest the lawsuit in Minneapolis.

Single-Egress Stairway Apartment Building report: The Department of Labor and Industry will gather stakeholders to evaluate conditions under which apartment buildings with a single means of egress above three stories up to 75′ would achieve life safety outcomes equal to our superior to currently adopted codes.

Electric-vehicle requirements in single-family construction: Following new requirements that required electric-vehicle infrastructure in commercial and some multifamily settings, new legislation that would require electric-vehicle infrastructure in single-family homes was introduced and discussed in both chambers. The language was ultimately not adopted.

New lobbying requirements at city halls: For many months there has been confusion about what is considered lobbying at the Capitol and within political subdivisions. The broader government relations community worked throughout the session to gain greater clarity. The Legislature passed language that may require certain professionals who interact with state and local officials to register as lobbyists. This could include certain lawyers, engineers, architects and more. If you interact with local government, look for future rules from the Campaign Finance Board.