New DLI Commissioner, Electrical Code and Stormwater Permit Changes, Energy Code Rulemaking, and New Environmental Review Regulations
Gov. Tim Walz appointed Nicole Blissenbach as commissioner of the Minnesota Department
of Labor and Industry in December 2022.
“I am excited that Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach will continue to lead the Department of Labor and Industry,” said Governor Walz. “From successfully overseeing the Frontline Worker Pay program to improving workplace safety for Minnesotans across the state, she is the right person to fight for and represent Minnesota’s workers.”
Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach has been with the agency since 2019 and previously served as DLI’s deputy commissioner, overseeing the work of the Labor Standards, Minnesota OSHA Compliance, Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, the Office of General Counsel, Research and Statistics, and Projects and Planning work units.
Her first role with the agency was as assistant commissioner for Enforcement and Compliance Strategies and Partnerships. The State Senate confirmed Blissenbach’s appointment in February.
2023 Electrical Code
At its Jan. 31, 2023 meeting, the Minnesota Board of Electricity adopted the 2023 National Electrical Code unamended.
Industry groups Housing First Minnesota and Central Minnesota Builders Association pushed for a more rigorous review for the code.
“We thank the Board of Electricity for listening to the industry’s concerns over the process,” said Nick Erickson, senior director of housing policy for Housing First Minnesota.
The new electrical code will go into effect on July 1, 2023, pending completion of the final
DLI Opens Rulemaking on Residential Energy Code
DLI will open rulemaking to adopt the 2021 Energy Code the agency announced in February. The technical review timeline has not been announced, but the agency is expected to form a technical advisory group and begin the review in 2023.
Opening rulemaking will be a lengthy process and will include technical reviews, stakeholder
engagement and public comment periods, as well as a required durability analysis.
“Given the short window between the technical review of the 2021 IECC and the 2024 building code update, we don’t expect the Department to open rulemaking in 2024,” said Nick Erickson, senior director of housing policy for Housing First Minnesota. “On volume, Minnesota builds the most energy efficient homes in the country. We need to ensure that affordability remains part of the conversation and that any changes don’t lead to code chaos.”
2023 Stormwater Permit
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released its draft 2023 Construction Stormwater General Permit (General Permit) in early January.
The General Permit outlines erosion control requirements on construction sites one acre or larger throughout the state. The current General Permit expires on July 31, 2023, and the final 2023 General Permit will go into effect on Aug. 1. The MPCA updates the General Permit every five years.
MPCA accepted comments on the proposed 2023 General Permit through March