Local Laws May Need Local Approval

November 14, 2022

If your city secured special legislation, you may need to act before the end of the year to make the law effective.

During the 2021 and 2022 regular and special legislative sessions, legislation that included local laws were enacted and, in many instances, those local laws do not become effective until they are approved by the local unit of government.

If your city sought and secured special legislation for a local sales tax, a tax-increment financing (TIF) project, a liquor law, or other special local law, remember that your city, and in some cases, your county and school district, may have to take official action to make the law effective.

Deadline approaching

For any special law enacted during the 2021 or the 2022 regular and special sessions that requires local approval, state law requires the city council to adopt a resolution accepting the law. Then the city must file a certificate of approval with the Office of Secretary of State before the first day of the legislative session in 2023, which will be Jan. 3. If the adoption of the resolution and the filing with the Secretary of State does not occur by that date, the special law is deemed to be disapproved by the local government unit unless otherwise provided in the special law.

In some instances — especially for TIF district special laws that extend the duration of a TIF district — Minnesota Statutes, section 469.1782 may require the county and school district to also provide local approval and file a certificate of approval with the Office of Secretary of State. Given that these laws were likely initiated by the city, the county and school district may not be aware of the law, and the city may need to inform the county and the school district of this local approval requirement.

Filing the required documentation

The Office of the Revisor of Statutes of the Minnesota Legislature posted documents that summarize these 2021 and 2022 local laws that explicitly included a local approval requirement under Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, or explicitly provided an exemption from the local approval requirement. However, occasionally a local law will not reference the approval requirement and will not be included in these tables. In those instances, a city may want to consult with its city attorney about whether to complete the local approval requirements.

According to the Revisor’s Office, if a local approval certificate was filed with the Office of Secretary of State by July 1, 2022, the approval and filing dates are indicated on the tables. Where a local approval certificate has not yet been filed, the table includes a blank.

The League has identified situations where cities have filed the required documentation with the Office of Secretary of State, but the Revisor’s tables have not been updated to reflect the filing. If your city has filed the documentation and you want to verify the filing, you can visit the Official Documents webpage of the Office of Secretary of State and search for “Certificate of Approval of Special Law.” If you need a copy of the filing form, download a certificate for local approval (pdf).

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