From Rep. Esther Agbaje <[email protected]>
Subject Legislative Update 04.29.2024
Date April 29, 2024 7:57 PM
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Esther Header

Dear Neighbors,    

As we enter the final stretch of the 2024 legislative session, I'm proud of the progress we've made together toward building a stronger Minnesota for working families. We're committed to securing fair wages, strengthening consumer and child protections, affordable healthcare, housing stability, and investments that empower our communities.   

There is still a great deal of work ahead of us, but together, we have a significant responsibility to empower Minnesotans with the resources they need to thrive. I'm committed to working tirelessly alongside my colleagues to deliver these important results. Below is a list of bills that have been introduced to the floor before we head into conference committees and work out final versions before the end of session. 


Before we dive into recent developments from the capitol, I wanted to take a moment to send my sincere heartfelt condolences to everyone affected by the sudden passing of one of our community leaders and successful business owner, Sammy McDowell [ [link removed] ]. He was well known for his incredible generosity and creating a place where all are welcome. May we all find comfort in the memories of Sammy's kindness and dedication to our community, and may we strive to carry on his legacy of giving back. 

*Recent Floor Actions* 

*Tenants’ Bill of Rights* 

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed SF3492/HF3591, the Landlord-Tenant Policy Bill on a vote of 68-61, a bill I was proud to champion. The 2024 Tenant’s Rights Policy Bill includes provisions to safeguard tenants’ right to organize, protect tenant survivors of domestic violence, clarify tenant’s rights to emergency services, prohibit rental discrimination based on public assistance, and more.  

Strong tenant protections create stability and respect, allowing residents to feel secure in their homes. Our comprehensive bill will strengthen and clarify tenant protection laws to ensure a fair rental market. This means tenants can advocate for decent living conditions, be free from discrimination based on public assistance, and won't be punished for experiencing domestic violence by losing their home. I'm proud to author this bill because it prioritizes Minnesota families and keeps them safe and housed. 

While the conference committee process can be complex, I don’t see it being a contentious conference committee. I'm optimistic by working together with my Senate author, Sen. Mohamed, we can ultimately deliver a strong package of tenants' rights for Minnesotans.  


*Residential Shared Utility Metering * 

Last week, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed SF 4579/HF 4558 on a bipartisan 82-44 vote. The bill changes and replaces the law on shared-meter utility billing for residential rental units. It provides rights to tenants, including applying the cold weather rule to shared-meter utility billing, and provides for resolution by the Public Utilities Commission when tenants and landlords cannot reach an agreement in a dispute.  

Minnesota has strong ratepayer protections to ensure individuals aren’t forced into a tragic situation if they have trouble paying their utility bills. However, there are loopholes in these protections for people who live in multifamily homes and do not pay for the utility directly. In situations where different units share a meter, the protections only apply to a landlord, not the person living in the property. This gives some landlords the ability to evict a tenant without any of the normal housing and ratepayer protections in law. 

*Cannabis Policy* 

Last year, DFLers legalized adult-use cannabis, along with the possession and growing of cannabis plants for personal, recreational use. However, buying cannabis legally at a licensed retail business in the state is not set to begin until early next year. The Cannabis Policy bill we passed is meant to expedite the process of setting up a regulated and legitimate marketplace for cannabis to displace the illicit marketplace currently in place. You can read more about what the bill contains here [ [link removed] ].     

*Commerce Policy* 

We worked to pass the Commerce Policy Bill which focuses on consumer and child protections, debt reform, net neutrality, and more. The Commerce Policy Bill codifies previous Federal Communications Commission net neutrality rules into law. To achieve net neutrality, the bill establishes a set of parameters internet service providers must follow to do business in Minnesota. Provisions in this bill also require health plans providing coverage for physical or mental health services to provide coverage for gender-affirming care as well and requires health plans consider gender-affirming care as medically necessary as long as it meets professional standards, guidelines, or medical practices.  


*E-Waste Tour* 

I had a fantastic time joining Representatives Athena Hollins and Dan Wolgamott on a legislative E-Waste tour of Integrated Recycling Technologies (IRT) in St. Cloud. The tour provided a valuable opportunity to learn more about electronic waste recycling facilities and the innovative services they offer to Minnesotans. We discussed the recycling process and explored ways to reduce barriers and encourage increased recycling in the future.  

My sincere thanks to Tony Celt, VP of Sales and Marketing, and Dave Owens, COO, for their insightful leadership and the informative tour of the IRT facility.  


*Let’s Stay Connected!* 

I deeply value being in this work to improve lives with you. Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. Please reach out anytime if you need assistance, schedule a meeting or community event, or have questions at [email protected]  or 651-296-8659.  

In community, 

Rep. Esther Agbaje 

Minnesota House of Representatives (59B) 

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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