Jeff Brand Says Ditch the Missing Middle

Jeff Brand Says Ditch the Missing Middle

By Robert Lawson
Publisher
info@nicolletcountyledger.com


Representative Jeff Brand (DFL - Saint Peter) in the Minnesota House said there are an unprecedented number of bills that were introduced in the session, way too many for any body of state government to handle. In fact, there were more than 5,000 of them introduced. He would prefer to see the legislature focus on and prioritize bills that have a chance to pass. One of those he called out was the so-called missing middle bill to allow a statewide ban on single-family housing. 

“It lacks merit. It lacks support. It doesn’t really have a chance.”

That particular bill caused a stir at a lobbyist group called the League of Minnesota Cities. They say the bill takes away public input and preempts local government and have lobbied against the legislation. As a former city council member in Saint Peter, Brand is familiar with the league, as the city council frequently consulted with the group and were a member. 

The bills in question that were related to the missing middle in housing, HF 4009/SF 3964, the bill authored by Rep. Larry Kraft (DFL-St. Louis Park)/Sen. Nicole Mitchell (DFL-Woodbury) and HF 4010/SF 3980 authored by Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (DFL-Duluth)/ Sen. Susan Pha (DFL-Brooklyn Park) were to be considered by the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee.

The league was clear:

“The League has been in conversations with the bill authors and will continue to advocate for local control when it comes to local decision-making authority on residential development. Cities are encouraged to reach out to their legislators with concerns regarding this bill.”

Brand said that while the bills may be well intentioned, they are just too controversial. 

“I’d say our city governments do not support it,” he said. “You know, when I introduce legislation, I like to reach out across the aisle and get some support from the folks in the Republican side of the world.”

Brand said with more than 5,000 bills, it is a troubling trend of having bills introduced with only one or two members bringing it forward without instruction with the rest of the caucus on the issue. 

This missing middle is an attempt by its legislative authors to relieve housing density requirements so more people can have access to affordable housing, especially people of color and low income workers.

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