LPMN State Download 🌻 | Tenant protections, legislative recap & more! | June 2023

Welcome to our summer State Download! Every quarter we’ll be updating you on the Minnesota State Chapter. Check out what LPMN has been up to below, including a recap of our second  state meeting focused on housing justice, a public safety forum in the western metro and a legislative recap of the most productive legislative session in recent history! 

And don’t forget to REGISTER today for our upcoming National Convening – COLLECTIVE COURAGE. COLLECTIVE POWER. – in St.Louis, MO! Registration is filling up fast, so don’t wait. Register here.

As Minnesota’s 2023 state legislative session came to a close, Local Progress leaders across the state came together to reflect on the years of local organizing work that paved the way for transformative, state-level changes and to strategize for the next wave of change that many are already building towards.

You can check out the full recap of the 2023 State Meeting on our blog here!

Minnesota state lawmakers passed legislation investing $2 billion in housing this year – the most the state has ever spent on housing – devoting hundreds of millions of dollars toward affordable housing, helping first-generation homeowners afford down payments and raising the metro sales tax to fund housing assistance. After years of local organizing, the legislature also passed a number of tenant protections, including a 14-day pre-eviction notice and expungement reform, among others. In many ways, this is groundbreaking; yet we know we have more work to do to address Minnesota’s housing crisis and further protect tenants. That’s why nearly 30 Local Progress Minnesota (LPMN) members and partners from across the state convened in St. Paul in early June for our second ever LPMN State Meeting. This year’s state meeting focused on housing policy, and created a space for members to strategize on policy and narrative, learn from one another, build community, and dream up change.

Panelists, Elizabeth Glidden (Local Progress Alumni and Deputy Director of Minnesota Housing Partnership), Mitra Jalali (St. Paul City Councilmember and LPMN Co-Chair) Jen Westmoreland (LP member and Hopkins School Board Chair) and Jen Arnold (IX/ Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia) discussed opportunities for cross-collaboration amongst local electeds, school board members, and partners to capitalize on this year’s legislative housing wins with a focus on tenant protections.

🏡 Celebrating Local Housing Wins

We also took time to celebrate some of the local housing wins across the state over the past couple of years: Duluth created a new housing trust fund; Hopkins dedicated new construction for affordable housing; St. Paul became the first city in the midwest to pass rent stabilization (and Minneapolis is working on bringing a similar policy to the ballot); St. Paul and Minneapolis passed pre-eviction notification policies; Brooklyn Center passed Just Cause eviction protections; and many localities across the state have implemented inclusionary zoning and right to counsel. After reflection and celebration, members strategized – coming out of the session with personalized, realistic policies and budgetary tools to ensure all renters in their community have the following protections: 

  • The right to fair access in housing;
  • The right to reasonable fees and rent;
  • The right to safe and secure housing; and
  • The right to a just eviction process. 

Read the full recap of the 2023 State Meeting on our blog here.

In April, more than 40 community members turned out for a panel discussion moderated by LPMN Chapter Manager Jillia Pessenda featuring four Local Progress Minnesota members: Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, Minnetonka City Councilmember Kimberly Wilburn, St. Louis Park City Councilmember Sue Budd, and Hopkins City Councilmember Hedi Garrido.

Panelists engaged with community members in a thoughtful and intentional discussion about ways to transform our systems of public safety – grounded in a holistic vision for community safety. Members delved into expanded safety response models, like mental health response teams, and strategies for advancing restorative justice, including within the criminal justice system; but they also made sure to address ways to get at the root causes of instability in their communities: ensuring people have access to stable housing, high-quality jobs, excellent public transportation, good public schools, and so much more. 

As local elected officials with different jurisdictions representing uniquely different communities, panelists reflected on the ways in which local leaders can work together across county lines to build real safety. Read more about the event here. 

The Democratic trifecta, with just a one vote majority in the state senate, made exciting progress during this year’s legislative session. LPMN members, along with the Minnesota Paid Family & Medical Leave coalition, played an instrumental role in calling for  and passing Paid Family and Medical Leave; we were all thrilled to see this bill signed into law after years of advocacy and organizing. In addition, LP members, St. Paul City Councilmember Mitra Jalali, Minneapolis City Councilmember Elliott Payne, and Duluth City Councilmember Mike Mayou called for state action on passing Earned Sick and Safe Time after implementing policies in their cities, helping lead to its passage. Other wins that reflect decades of local work include a public safety bill aimed at reducing gun violence , a higher-ed bill with a free college tuition program for low-income Minnesotans, bills codifying abortion rights into the state constitution, bills banning conversion therapy, ensuring free meals for all MN school children, setting a goal to be carbon-free by 2040, restoring voting rights for felons, legalizing marijuana, allowing all Minnesotans — regardless of immigration status — to obtain driver’s licenses, and establishing the state as a trans refuge

Stay tuned for more information on how local electeds will be able to access resources and help implement these recent wins on the local level!

⚡️ The #LP2023 National Convening is ON September 6 -9 and you don’t want to miss it!

This is an opportunity to build community with and learn from values-aligned local elected officials from around the country. We’re bringing together Local Progress members, partners, and movement allies from across the country for a weekend of shared strategy, peer learning, and leadership development – complete with workshops, community spaces, site visits, and more! 

Local electeds receive $50 OFF registration when you register by June 29! REGISTER TODAY. Let’s make sure MN has the largest cohort of local elected officials attending to-date! See you in St.Louis – trust us, you don’t want to miss out.

💖 Join a LP Identity Caucus! 

Over the past two years, Local Progress has launched two identity-based community spaces: the Black Caucus and the Women’s Caucus. These spaces were created by and for LP members to gather and share their lived experiences in governing and leading. Our caucuses will have several opportunities to engage this year so sign up to learn more! 

💻 Upcoming Programming 

Our Policy & Strategy Primers are a series of foundational learning sessions on policy tools and strategy designed to help local electeds and staff figure out where and how to get started on key issues. Next up are Social Media Strategies in June, Equitable Development in July and Advancing and Protecting Workers’ Rights in August! Check out the full schedule here.

🤝 Recruit New Members

We’re continuing to grow our network across Minnesota! Do you have colleagues or partners who should join us? Encourage them to join the LP network by signing up here. Membership is free! We’re excited to connect with values-aligned local elected officials across MN! 

In Solidarity,