Administrative rules that can increase the cost of building or remodeling a unit of residential housing by $1,000 or more may need to be brought to the attention of the Legislature, where committees with purview over the rules could require they get approval in law.
Rep. Bob Vogel (R-Elko New Market) who sponsors HF1001 said it would “ensure the potential for home ownership is not eroded. … Studies show that for every $1,000 of cost increase, approximately 4,000 people are priced out of the market.”
Passed 73-48, as amended, Friday by the House, it now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) is the sponsor.
Under the bill, a state agency would make the initial cost determination, subject to review by an administrative law judge. A legislative committee could vote that a rule needs its approval, and if the rule failed to get the panel’s support, the agency could not adopt it.
Vogel successfully offered two amendments.
The first would require agencies to consider other costs and offsetting savings. The second would clarify that an administrative law judge would need to affirmatively agree that the cost exceeds the threshold and that if a legislative committee has jurisdiction over even a portion of a proposed rule, the committee could decide that its approval is required.
The bill faced a barrage of opposition from DFLers.
Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) said the bill opens up the prospect of building codes, meant to ensure health and safety, being debated on the House Floor, and he questioned how costs would be determined. “Are you expecting to calculate the cost of a life, the cost of health?”
Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) said the bill would grant unprecedented veto power to a legislative committee over an administrative rule, and Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) called that a division-of-powers violation of the state constitution.
The bill would be of no help to millennials seeking a solution to the affordable housing crisis, said Rep. Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley).
But Rep. Jerry Hertaus (R-Greenfield) blamed the “intrusive and invasive nature of government [for] driving up the cost of housing.”
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