Update: Status of Bills the League Asked Cities to Take Action On

The League thanks city officials for responding to “action alerts” and voicing support or opposition to bills that would impact cities.
(Published Apr 10, 2017)

The League has sent several “action alerts” this session to city members, asking them to contact legislators in support or opposition to specific proposed legislation affecting some or all cities. Here is an update on legislation the League has asked members to take action on.

Interim ordinances
The League requested cities to voice opposition to a bill that would require cities to give a 10-day notice, as well as obtain a two-thirds majority vote to pass an interim ordinance.

The most concerning issue was the broad application to “activities related to housing.” The authors have addressed all of these issues, and the League is now neutral on the language of the bill. (Read a related Bulletin article.)

Reverse referendum requirements
The League sent out an action alert for a bill that would require a reverse referendum option when cities increase their levy. Cities were asked to voice concerns about this bill, as it would add a significant financial and time burden in how cities conduct tax levying.

Currently, three provisions requiring reverse referenda are in the House omnibus tax bill. There were no reverse referendum provisions included in the Senate tax bill. (Read a related Bulletin article.)

The League sent an action alert concerning legislation (SF 1749/HF 1995) that would give disproportionate authority to townships in the annexation process with cities. Thanks to the timely response from cities, the bill was pulled from the hearing agenda in the Senate Local Government Committee.

Business notification
The League requested that cities voice concerns over legislation (HF 1242/SF 1224) that would require cities to send notification by first class mail to all businesses potentially affected by proposed interim ordinances.

Thanks to your responses, the bill was amended so that businesses must request notice as well as be subscribed to a listserv to receive notice by email, effectively making it much easier for cities to manage. The bill is awaiting action on the House and Senate floors.

Special service districts
The League sent several action alerts to encourage cities to voice concerns over legislation that would repeal city authority to establish special service districts. The House version, HF 2412, was not included in the House Property Tax Division report. There is no Senate version of the bill.

Email correspondence
The League asked cities to voice concerns over legislation that would require cities to retain email correspondence for three years, and would remove discretion on what is considered “official records.”

The bill has been heard in two House committees and referred to the Committee on State Government Finance. In the Senate, it has been referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, but has not received a hearing—missing the applicable deadline. (Access the League’s Email Retention Advocacy Toolkit.)

City street funding
The League requested that cities voice support for legislation (HF 934/SF 933) that would add a $10 surcharge on license tab fees and on motor vehicle title transfers to be dedicated to city-owned streets statewide. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the transportation finance bill.

Unfortunately, it was not included in either the Senate or House versions of the omnibus bill. (Read a related Bulletin article.)

Small cell wireless
The League has sent several action alerts and updates concerning small cell wireless deployment legislation that would severely restrict local authority to manage the public right of way.

Thanks to the overwhelming response, currently this legislation is not included in either the House or Senate omnibus bills. However, it is important to note that negotiations are ongoing and it could resurface later in the 2017 session. (Read a related Bulletin article.)

City authority over private well drilling
The League sent an action alert last week requesting cities to contact their representatives over an amendment to the health and human services finance bill that would pre-empt longstanding city authority to adopt land use ordinances that limit private well drilling. Thanks to the very timely response of cities in less than 24 hours of the amendment being drafted, the amendment was pulled from being presented on the floor.

The League thanks cities for contacting their legislators on these important issues.

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