The Land Stewardship Project just got word Friday night that the Minnesota Senate will be taking up the bill to weaken local control this Monday, May 8, at 11 a.m. The bill, House File 330, passed off the House Floor on Feb. 14. It had been scheduled to be on the Senate Floor on March 20 for a vote, but because of our calls and e-mails the bill was pulled. Now with only two weeks left in this legislative session, corporate interests are trying to push it through again.
The bill weakens local control for cities by requiring in some cases a 2/3 super majority to enact an interim ordinance. Currently, an interim ordinance can always be enacted by a simple majority—that's how democratic rights should work. The interim ordinance allows a city to quickly enact a moratorium when unanticipated development is proposed that is of concern to the community. This is an emergency power that allows the community time to study the issue, review its zoning ordinances, and, if needed, adopt new zoning controls.
Without a single budget bill finished yet this session, the Minnesota Senate is turning its attention to serving corporate interests by making our local communities weaker. Minnesota has over 850 cities, with most of them being small and rural. By putting the rights of development interests above that of local people, this bill weakens the power of city councilors and mayors to protect their communities.
This language from House File 330 has also been included in the Jobs and Energy Omnibus Finance Bill, which is currently in a conference committee, so we need to let Governor Mark Dayton know that he should veto this interim ordinance language if it gets to him in any form. Take action now to let Governor Mark Dayton and your Senator know that you support strong local democracy and oppose House File 330.