The Minnesota Senate yesterday passed a significant Agriculture, Broadband, and Housing bill to help Minnesota farmers and families. The legislation works to expand broadband funding, urgent addresses concerns in our agriculture sector and improves access to affordable housing. It also helps farmers combat the ongoing Avian influenza outbreak by appropriating $500,000 to the agricultural emergency account to be used for avian influenza testing supplies. Additionally, included is $350,000 for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota for equipment to test for chronic wasting disease (CWD), African swine fever, avian influenza, and other animal diseases.
In the Housing portion of the bill is language authored by Senator Zach Duckworth (R-Lakeville) that increases the maximum loan amount a person of low income can receive from the Minnesota Housing Agency.
“This is an integral bill that address issues farmers and families across the state have been facing for years. We are committed to providing access to affordable housing and reliable internet for all Minnesotans. It is incumbent upon legislators to address the housing crisis our state is facing. Through targeted investments we are increasing affordable housing and providing financial opportunities for first-time home buyers. It’s time for us to solve the housing crisis and renew the American Dream of home ownership. Today’s bill dedicates resources to doing that,” Duckworth said.
Other notable provisions in the bill include:
- Funding to offset lost revenue for Minnesota deer farmers impacted by the banning of deer movement by the Department of Natural Resources
- Provides historic funding up to $210 million of federal money to further expand broadband across the state
- $35 million investment in the Homeownership Investment Grants Program to increase affordable home ownership
- $10 million in funding for the Workforce Homeownership Program to increase the supply of workforce and affordable, owner-occupied housing
- Preventing the governor from issuing any executive order that prohibits or delays evictions for more than 30 days unless an extension to the order is approved by a majority vote of each house of the legislature
- Prohibiting local governments from enacting rent control policies on private residential properties, retroactive to November 1, 2021