The 2022 Omnibus Housing and Agriculture bill passed the Senate this week on a vote of 38 – 27. The bill includes $50 million for housing. While this investment is positive, it is much less than what Governor Walz was proposing. The bill also contains problematic language prohibiting future voters from adopting rent control and overrides the results of the November 2021 elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul, retroactively prohibiting them from implementing rent control and rent stabilization policies. While debating the merits of policy are essential to our democracy, Senate Republicans are taking an unprecedented step in overturning a free and fair election because they didn’t like the outcome. If recognizing the results of an election cannot garner majority support in the Senate, future elections and our democracy are threatened.
The Agriculture provisions in this bill were generally supported – there was $4 million for our farmers for everything from cover crops to meat processing. There was $1 million for white-tailed deer farmers who had financial losses due to recent movement bans that was controversial – Minnesota has a large wild deer population and deer farms pose a risk in spreading CWD to the wild deer population. While the bill was generally supported, we could be doing a lot more for our farmers. Republicans spent 45 times more toward giving tax cuts to those earning over $250,000 than they do supporting our farmers. Climate change and extreme weather, as evidenced by last year’s drought and this spring’s temperamental weather making it difficult to get crops planted, is a threat to our farmers, and we need to do more to help them adapt.
The bill will go to conference committee with the House where the language and money will be further refined until an agreement can be reached. (HF 4366)