From Rep. Esther Agbaje <[email protected]>
Subject Legislative Update: 01/18/2024
Date January 18, 2024 9:20 PM
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Esther Header

Dear Neighbors,  

During the legislative interim, I have been immersed in the community collaborating with local leaders and advocates to tackle the unique challenges and opportunities facing Minnesotans. Last year we made historic movements on long overdue legislation to improve the lives of all Minnesotans, like paid family medical leave, providing free school meals for students, codifying reproductive freedom, and providing emergency funding for food shelves across the state.  

In this new year, let's remember what makes Minnesota truly special: the strength of our communities, the generosity of our spirits, and the unwavering belief that together, we can achieve anything. I am honored to stand alongside you, to be your representative, and to work tirelessly alongside my colleagues to build a state where every family thrives, and every child inherits a legacy of opportunity. 


*Cold Weather Rule* 

Minnesota’s “cold weather rule” is now in effect, which protects residents from having electric or natural gas service shut off between October 1 and April 30. To ensure your service is safe from disconnection you must make and keep a payment plan that you and your utility provider agree on. More information is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s website [ [link removed] ]. 

Cold Weather Rule

*Minnesota Housing Partnership Legislative Leader Award*       

Each year, the Minnesota Housing Partnership presents the Legislative Leader Award to recognize state-elected government officials who have demonstrated their strong and dedicated support of affordable housing by championing the advancement of MHP’s policy agenda and legislative priorities. This recognition is a testament to the collective power of our movement to champion housing as a fundamental human right and collaboratively promote systems change that tackles economic and racial disparities in housing. As Vice Chair of the Housing Committee, I was proud to lead a historic tenants’ rights package, first-gen homeownership resources, bolstering workforce and housing supply, and piloting new investments to end youth homelessness.  

MHP celebrated with a packed house of over 175 housing champions including Governor Walz, state legislators, labor unions, advocates, and state-wide housing leaders. Together, we’ll urgently press on until everyone has a safe, affordable, secure place to call home and live their fullest lives. 


*New Tenant Protection Laws* 

It was an honor to lead the tireless efforts that have secured stronger protections for Minnesota tenants starting January 1st! Tenants facing eviction for nonpayment will now have a crucial 14-day notice period to address the issue before the landlord can file. Additionally, unwelcome visits are a thing of the past, with landlord entry restricted to 8 AM - 8 PM and requiring at least 24 hours' notice.  

Despite being one of the coldest states in which to live, Minnesota had no statewide law requiring landlords to maintain a minimum temperature for rental units. Starting January 1, Minnesota landlords will be required to keep rental units at a minimum of 68 degrees from October to April, if the tenant does not control the thermostat.  

While there's more to be done, these significant steps mark a pivotal shift towards ensuring winter stability and empowering tenants with greater peace of mind. Moreover, these critical steps are essential in combating the housing/homelessness crisis in our state.  

You can find more provisions included in the public safety and judiciary finance bill directed at landlord and tenant relations here: [link removed]. 


*Minnesota Values Project Survey* 

Almost seven years ago, the Minnesota House DFL started the Minnesota Values Project (also known as MVP), a partnership between Minnesotans, elected officials, and organizations to create a shared vision for the future of our state. Working together, we’ve strengthened our communities by improving education opportunities, making affordable health care a reality, and increasing economic prosperity for all Minnesotans – yet we know there is more to do.  

*Take the survey today by clicking this **link* [ [link removed] ]*.*

Minnesota Values Project logo

As we approach the 2024 session, which begins February 12, I would like to hear your input on creating solutions as we set our next agenda and deliver on our shared values. As part of this effort, I would appreciate it if you took part in the new Minnesota Values Project survey that only takes a few minutes, and as we build a shared vision for our state, your input is crucial in this process. I am grateful for your engagement and input from our community and look forward to hearing what you have to say. 

*Hennepin County Affordable Housing Development Grant* 

Hennepin County is investing in affordable housing, and we need your help! Up to $18 million is available for development and preservation through various programs: 

Affordable Rental Housing: 

* $5 million from the Affordable Housing Incentive Fund (AHIF) 
* $2 million from HOME Investment Partnerships 


* $1.245 million from the Homeownership Assistance Fund 

Supportive Housing: 

* Over $9 million from the supportive housing strategy 

Who can apply? Nonprofit and for-profit developers and government agencies are welcome! 

Apply now! Submit your proposal through the new Hennepin County Housing and Economic Development Portal [ [link removed] ] by 3:00 PM on Thursday, February 8th. Don't miss this chance to make a difference in the lives of Minnesotans living in Hennepin County.  

*Let’s Stay Connected!* 

I deeply value being in this work to improve lives with you, and I hope you will stay in touch throughout the interim and as we gear up for the 2024 legislative session. Please reach out anytime if you need assistance, schedule a meeting or community event, or have questions at [email protected]  or 651-296-8659.  

It’s an honor to represent our community in the Minnesota House.  

In community, 

Rep. Esther Agbaje 

Minnesota House of Representatives  

Committee Assignments: 

* *Vice *Chair Housing Finance and Policy 
* Taxes 

* Ways and Means 
* Elections Finance and Policy 

*Legislative Assistant * 

Shamat Abraha 

[email protected] 


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