League of Minnesota Cities Shares 2024 Legislative Session Priorities

February 8, 2024


Infrastructure needs, housing, and emergency services among top issues cities to face this session

The 2023 Legislative Session will be remembered for its 74 chapters adopted as new law under the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party’s single-party control. The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) advocated for city priorities and interests throughout the fast-paced 2023 session and will continue to testify at committee hearings, work with legislators, and give all Minnesota cities a voice at the Capitol in 2024.

The League’s Board of Directors adopted 12 legislative priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session, all of which were determined during the League’s policy committee process and through other member interactions and communications over the last several months. While the League plans to allocate ample time and resources to all 12 priorities — plus any other pressing issues that may arise — it has identified bonding/infrastructure, housing, and emergency medical services (EMS) as its key priorities this session.

Infrastructure Needs Continue to Grow

According to Minnesota Management and Budget, the state currently has $2.9 billion in capital budget requests from local governments.

The League supports a substantial capital investment package that includes appropriations for municipal water and wastewater infrastructure, local roads and bridges, housing, the local road wetland replacement fund, flood hazard mitigation, and dam repair and removal projects.

“Cities cannot meet essential infrastructure needs without the Legislature’s support,” LMC President and Nisswa City Administrator Jenny Max said. “A robust bonding bill will help ensure Minnesota cities remain great places to live.”

Supporting Cities’ Locally Identified Housing Needs

The League seeks to build on the historic level of housing funding passed in 2023 and ensure successful implementation of new programs. The League also seeks to advance policy that encourages state-local partnership and allows broader authority for cities to address their locally identified housing needs. Cities across the state are innovating by addressing local policies associated with residential development and assisting their developer partners with limited resources.

The League will continue to advocate for housing solutions that support local innovation and protect cities’ decision-making authority on zoning and land use to make community-informed decisions that best fit their community housing needs.

“Elected city officials must retain authority to implement zoning and land use policies that best serve their communities,” Max said. “The Legislature should support cities’ locally led efforts and resist imposing overly-broad statewide mandates that aren’t feasible for all Minnesota cities.”

Seeking Solutions to EMS Challenges

Emergency medical services (EMS) in Minnesota, including many operated by cities, are increasingly strained by funding shortfalls, understaffing, and barriers to efficiencies. The League is committed to discussing and addressing ongoing challenges to delivering EMS across the state.

The League has been convening the EMS Delivery and Sustainability Task Force and will engage in the work of the Minnesota Legislature’s Joint Task Force on EMS.

In addition, the League will advocate for funding and policy solutions that recognize different EMS models and support EMS statewide.

“Funding and staffing challenges are putting some rural communities at risk of losing ambulance services, and urban areas are facing challenges related to efficient EMS delivery,” LMC Intergovernmental Relations Director Anne Finn said. “Without urgent legislative action, Minnesota’s EMS system may become less reliable for people with acute medical needs.

“Communities are hurting and desperate to keep their EMS intact. The Legislature needs to show its support and prioritize this crucial issue.”

The League’s 12 priorities do not reflect the broad scope of issues the organization anticipates addressing during the 2024 legislative session.

“We are looking forward to working with legislators and making sure they are connected with our local government experts—our members,” Max said. “We’re honored to represent Minnesota cities and the communities they serve during the upcoming legislative session.”

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