Alliance 2024 Legislative Session Recap

While many important bills stalled during the tumultuous 2024 legislative session, coalitions convened by the Alliance advocated at the state capitol and helped to secure significant victories for our communities this year. Read more below.

Blue Line Coalition

The Blue Line Coalition (photo above with Rep. Frank Hornstein) is rooted in the BIPOC and immigrant communities that will be most impacted by the Blue Line Light Rail Extension project. Since 2013, we have been working together to make sure government leaders recognize the Blue Line extension is a racial justice and regional equity issue and that community inclusion and leadership must be central to ALL planning and outcomes.

The BLC had a significant victory with the passage of funding for the new Anti-Displacement Community Prosperity Program. A first of its kind in the State of MN, the Anti Displacement funding bill helped secure $10 million dollars from a state appropriation, and a local match of $10 million dollars to fund the program; and the creation of a board which will work to allocate the funding in activities identified by the Anti-Displacement Work Group via the Anti Displacement report and recommendations. Some of those activities include: affordable housing, small business support, strategies to help residents stay in place, etc. Blue Line Coalition played a crucial role in the co creation of the ADWG report, its adoption and the legislative actions which helped ensure the bill did not only get adopted, but that its final form reflected the demands of our communities across the corridor of blue line extension. We also worked hard to educate legislators on the sustainable need that exists for the anti displacement fund, by persuading them to understand that anti displacement is a transit expense.

Click here for the final bill language (pages 119-123). 

Coalition for Clean Transportation

The Coalition for Clean Transportation (CCT) envisions a future where all Minnesotans, from urban to suburban to rural, have equitable access to clean transportation options that promote health and connection for all. The CCT works to eliminate Minnesota’s transportation-related climate emissions through the increased adoption and availability of sustainable and equitable electrification options, centering BIPOC and under-resourced communities who disproportionately bear the impact of climate change, air pollution, and experience high rates of mobility injustice.

CCT played a central role in the passage of the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Transition Plan, which requires the Met Council to accelerate and develop a more comprehensive electrification plan with key environmental justice provisions and bus rapid transit (BRT) prioritization — and seriously consider purchasing electric buses by 2035.

Transit buses have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. To ensure its transit fleet is wholly zero-emission by 2050, Metro Transit would need to exclusively purchase zero-emission buses starting in 2035. This 2050 deadline is internationally recognized for all sectors to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to avoid even more costly and tragic consequences of a changing climate.

As our transit system expands, thanks to the historic metro sales tax, Metro Transit’s current reliance on a largely diesel fleet will increase diesel pollution, particularly in overburdened Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPO) and low-income communities. The Met Council can and must simultaneously balance transit expansion with cleaning up our regional bus fleet.

The ZEB transition plan requires Met Council to update the legislature more frequently (every three years versus the previous language of every five years) on its electrification progress and challenges. This will help the agency, lawmakers, and stakeholders collaborate on creative solutions to address financial and technical challenges and opportunities in this rapidly growing market, while also better positioning Metro Transit to receive federal funding.

CCT led on amendments in this bill that prioritize environmental justice communities, in addition to prioritizing zero-emission bus infrastructure along BRT routes to maximize cost-effectiveness as we build out our transit systems.

Click here for the final bill language (section 473.3927). Read more in this letter from CCT to legislative leaders. 

Equity in Place

Equity in Place is a diverse group of strategic partners from organizations led by people of color and housing advocacy organizations working to advance housing justice and equitable community development. We organize and advocate with a race equity lens to understand and center how power inequities shape inequitable outcomes for our communities.

Two new laws championed by the Equity in Place and Vida Digna coalitions will ignite, accelerate and protect Minnesota’s growing movement to ensure dignified housing for all. The passage of Renters’ Right to Organize (HF 2704, SF 3201) and One Minnesota Economy (SF 3769, HF 3843) will have a transformative impact on renter households across Minnesota now and for generations to come.

From Mankato to Rochester, from Brooklyn Center to the West Side of Saint Paul, renters are coming together to identify common concerns, and play a central role in solving Minnesota’s housing crisis. For decades, many undocumented and mixed-status Minnesota families have been sidelined from the movement by the widespread requirement for Social Security numbers in rental housing applications, which push them into unsafe and unstable living situations. Meanwhile, tenants of all backgrounds who have come together to organize around rent increases or maintenance concerns have been undermined and retaliated against by landlords with unreasonable and unchecked power.

With the passage of Renters’ Right to Organize and the One Minnesota Economy bill, tenants across race, place and income will have the power and protection they need to build a massive, multi-racial movement for housing justice.

“New ITIN legislation will ensure that families have a pathway to rent, regardless of immigration status,” said Ryan Pérez, Organizing Director at COPAL, which is part of the Vida Digna coalition. “This will create new opportunities for dignified housing, especially in Greater Minnesota.”

“The new Tenant’s Right to Organize law will ensure that all renters across the state have legally protected pathways to come together and organize for better living conditions and housing justice,” said Juan Luis Rivera-Reyes, coalition organizer at The Alliance for Equity in Place. “In tandem with the ITIN law and other tenant-landlord law reforms, we have more collective power to build strong communities and advance bold visions from renters across Minnesota.”

Read more in our recent blog post.