Sunday, July 19, 2009

My 2009 Bills That Passed

Here's a wrap-up of my legislation that passed from 2009. You can look up the text of the bills at the House web site.

HF167/SF0185: The Governor signed SF2082 (the State Government Finance Bill) on May 16th. In that bill there was the text of my HF167, which extends the term of the Legislative Coordinating Commission Working Group on Ethnic Heritage & New Americans. I'm the House DFLer on the working group, which brings together business, labor, and advocates on the issue of immigration to help find pragmatic solutions. The bill is now Chapter 101 of 2009 Session Laws, Article 2, section 1. This bill was an initiative of the Working Group.

HF239: For two years, several of us from the suburbs have worked to assist homeowners who have been hassled by their builders or remodelers over breaches of warranty. Some Shoreview residents I know have spent $100,000 out of pocket in legal fees while the builders delay a settlement, hoping that the homeowner will give up. Others in the state have had to spend thousands of dollars in hotel or rental housing costs when their house is uninhabitable. My bill, HF239, would allow homeowners to be reimbursed for short-term housing if they have to be out of their house as a result of warranty work. It passed the House and Senate and was presented to the Governor on May 15th. The bill is now part of Chapter 103, 2009 Session Laws. The Governor vetoed the bill and discusses details in his veto letter. I dispute his rationale for the veto but we need to move on. This bill was initiated by advocates for homeowners and Shoreview constituents.

HF356: HF2088 is an omnibus economic development and housing bill that the Governor signed recently to replace a previous bill that he vetoed. It included my legislation from HF356 to maintain the solvency of the manufactured housing relocation trust fund. The bill is now Chapter 78 of 2009 Session Laws, Article 8, Sections 1 to 3. (The Governor made some line-item vetoes in the bill but not my legislation.) This bill will help make sure that owners of manufactured housing (aka mobile homes) will be able to tap into a self-insurance pool should the owner of their mobile home park sell the land, requiring all residents to vacate. There are about 500 manufactured homes in my district. This bill was an initiative of All Parks Alliance for Change.

HF403: HF2123, the environment and energy finance bill, passed with a high number of votes on the House floor from both parties. It included budgets for the MN Pollution Control Agency, the DNR, and several other smaller agencies. My legislation in the bill included provisions that will boost two industries in Minnesota--bioplastics and compost. Many district residents are asked by their waste hauler to dispose of their yard waste in a rolling cart or a compostable bag because the regular plastic bags contaminate the finished compost. Haulers pay a higher fee to get rid of plastic and compost site operators can't sell their compost. The legislation has all metro area residents use certified compostable bags starting January 1, 2010 if they use a bag. (Carts and reusable bags are fine too.) The idea is to increase quality and streamline rules across multiple jurisdictions. We have several Minnesota manufacturers of compostable bags who will be able to meet consumer demand, and they are part of our growing bioplastic industry. The original bill was HF403. This bill was signed by the Governor and is now Chapter 37 in Minnesota statutes. This bill was my own initiative.

HF1333: The Governor signed HF1298, a non-controversial bill with various tax compliance and other tax provisions. My bill HF1333 that authorizes bonding for Met Council transit facilities was included. The bill is now in Chapter 88 of 2009 Session Laws in Article 6, Section 20. This bill was initiated by the Met Council.

HF1373: My legislation to promote greater coordination of transit for the disabled and others who cannot drive passed. It's actually in two parts. The legislation creates the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access, where state and regional agencies that serve the disabled come together to figure out how to make a very fragmented and inefficient network of transit services more efficient and cost-effective. HF1373 was the original bill and the funding ended up in HF1309 and the enabling legislation ended up in the omnibus transportation policy bill in HF928. HF928 passed the House on May 17th and is now Chapter 151 of 2009 Session Laws, Section 28. The Governor vetoed the bill, and mentioned my legislation in his veto letter. The Governor signed HF1309 that is now Chapter 36 of Minnesota statutes. However, the Governor did direct the Department of Transportation to add additional members to the Interagency Committee on Transit Coordination (ICTC) as would have been required in my bill. Senator Dibble and I initiated this legislation.