Investments and Advancements: 2023 Legislative Session Recap

By Sheri Hansen, Director of Communications, Advocacy, and Public Outreach

By the end of the 2023 Minnesota legislative session, AIA Minnesota had many important “wins.” Whether we’re celebrating a significant and long-overdue capital investment package, the return of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, or the dozens of bills that advance climate action in our state, this year’s session was one marked by significant progress on many of our top policy priorities.

A few items of note:

  • In the last hours of the session, the legislature passed a $2.6 billion bonding and capital investment bill, making up for the failure to pass a bill in 2022.
  • The Historic Preservation Tax Credit was reinstated, with a sunset extended to 2030.
  • The Department of Labor formally accelerated the commercial energy code review timeline from six years to three years, a proposal AIA Minnesota has been working on with the Department since 2019.
  • The State Designer Selection Board’s threshold was increased to $4 million per project, the first increase since the 1990s and a policy objective of AIA Minnesota since 2018. The threshold will also be automatically adjusted for inflation every five years.
  • There was significant activity in the climate arena, including commercial building energy benchmarking, buy clean/buy fair provisions, grant programs for cities and schools, and more.
  • $1 billion was allocated to fund affordable housing efforts around the state of Minnesota.

For more detail about the many provisions that passed into law on which AIA Minnesota was active, visit our state legislation page. We will also host a virtual session recap on Monday, June 5 at noon to dive into the details of many of the bills that are about to become law.

As the AIA Minnesota staff member who supports the work of the government affairs committee, I continue to be incredibly proud of the ways that architects are shaping public policy in Minnesota. Dozens of AIA Minnesota members have visited legislators, testified in committees, written letters on specific issues, and helped inform our policy work in recent years. None of this happens overnight, and none of it could happen without the contributions of AIA Minnesota members throughout the year.

The progress we’ve seen this year is significant and is due in large part to the time invested by all of you to help improve our communities and the future of the profession. Our partnerships with AEC industry groups like AGC and the building trades were also important in presenting a united voice on issues like capital investment this year.

While we have much to celebrate, there is still much work to be done. Staff and the Government Affairs Committee will be hard at work this interim on additional policy ideas and new working groups, ongoing work with state agencies, and updating our strategy for the 2024 session.

We’re always looking for more volunteers to share their knowledge and join us in our work. Please send me a note if you’d like to get involved, or if you have any questions about the 2023 legislative session!

View the June 2023 edition of Matrix.