Housing, child care bills in the spotlight

Last week was a busy time for our efforts to advance the GMNP’s economic development policies, with advocacy efforts in multiple committees across both the House and Senate.

On Tuesday, Dan Dorman and Austin City Administrator Craig Clark testified in the Senate Housing Committee in support of SF 752, authored by Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), which would appropriate $6 million into the Greater Minnesota Workforce Housing Development Program and make a policy change that will make the program more effective given Greater Minnesota’s market conditions. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the housing omnibus bill.

On Thursday, the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee heard three of GMNP’s child care bills, all three of which are chief authored by Rep. Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth). First up was HF 413, which gives $4 million to the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations to support their efforts to work with communities and providers to grow child care capacity in Greater Minnesota. Tony Sertich of the Northland Foundation and Nancy Jost of West Central Initiative, both GMNP members, testified in support of the proposal.

Next the committee heard HF 411, which provides $10 million for the new Greater Minnesota Child Care Facilities Grant program. Testifying in support of these two bills were Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian and Warren City Administrator Shannon Mortenson.

The final bill was HF 412, which provides $10 million for the DEED Child Care Grant program.

HF 413 was laid over for possible inclusion in the committee’s omnibus bill while HF 411 and HF 412 passed out of the committee with unanimous support and were referred to Workforce and Business Development Finance and Policy Committee.