Don't Let Corporate Interests Weaken Local Control in Minnesota

Oppose House File 330 & Senate File 201, Which Weaken Local Democracy

Corporate interests are pushing bills to weaken the rights of cities and townships in Minnesota to effectively respond to unwanted and potentially harmful developments. This in turn weakens our ability as citizens to work through our local governments to protect our communities. Minnesotans value strong local democracy and want local governments to have the power to protect communities from unwanted development. Action is needed to keep local control strong.

Anti-Local Control Bills:

House File 330: Reps. Jim Nash (R-Waconia), Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), John Lesch (DFL- St. Paul), Duane Quam (R-Byron)

Senate File 201: Senators Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo), Scott Jensen (R- Chaska), David Osmek (R-Mound), Matt Little (DFL-Lakeville)

The legislation weakens the interim ordinance powers of townships and cities. Corporate interests have long pushed to weaken these rights because citizens have used them effectively to stop unwanted developments like factory farms and frac sand mines. Interim ordinances allow cities or townships to quickly put a temporary moratorium on major development. This is an emergency power that is essential when a community is caught off-guard by unanticipated and potentially harmful proposals, especially those from outside corporate interests. The interim ordinance freezes the status quo and gives the community time to review or create the appropriate zoning ordinances.

Here is how HF 330 (Nash) and SF 201 (Hall) weaken local control:

The legislation requires a two-thirds super majority to enact an interim ordinance. Currently, an interim ordinance can be enacted by a simple majority — that’s how democratic rights should work.

The legislation delays enactment of an interim ordinance for so long that it will often be ineffective. An interim ordinance is an emergency power that needs to be enacted quickly to be effective. But this legislation requires a 10-day public notice and a public hearing before a city enacts an interim ordinance on "activities related to housing." Neighbors often don't learn about a proposed project until just days before a permit is going to be issued.

Under this proposal, by the time the city posts a notice and has a public hearing on adopting the moratorium, the project could already be permitted. This provision is particularly problematic for small cities, which often meet only once-a-month. For them, meeting this requirement may delay the interim ordinance for so long that the project could be permitted before they take action.

To let your legislators know that you oppose this bill, click here now.