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Minneapolis City Council is moving forward with rent control – and Mayor Jacob Frey says he will veto it

A divided Minneapolis City Council voted on Thursday to move forward with implementing a rent control policy for city voters in November – hours before Mayor Jacob Frey announced his veto .

The council action, although just one step in a multi-step process, was at least a momentary victory for supporters of the strictest rent control options and a defeat for those who want to cancel altogether. the idea.

Frey’s veto likely means negotiations for potential compromises will need to happen sooner rather than later if the issue has a chance of making it to the November ballot.

Here’s what happened Thursday in the city council chambers:

Council voted 7-5 to order the city attorney’s office to write an ordinance that imposes a 3% annual rent cap with some exceptions.

Two things to keep in mind: Drafting the order would only serve as the first step in what will likely be months of heated debate. In other words, nothing has changed – no real rent control policy can be enacted without the consent of the voters.

The 3% cap, with few exceptions, equates to the toughest version of rent control currently available, similar to the policy approved by St. Paul voters in 2021 and later softened after backlash from developers.

With the Minneapolis City Council’s vote, the tough policy became the basis for future discussions at City Hall, though it never seemed to have the support of a majority of council members.

Council Speaker Andrea Jenkins voted in favor of Thursday’s action because she said voters deserved to have a policy to vote for or against. “We have to get things done,” she said.

However, Jenkins doesn’t really support the 3% policy; it’s too restrictive for her. If she gets what she wants, whatever actually happens before the voters will be looser.

“Politics will change,” she said after the meeting.

The board faces an August 25 statutory deadline to approve both a potential policy and a voting question. Due to the city’s various stages of legislation, including public hearings and committee votes, the train was scheduled to roll Thursday, according to council member Aisha Chughtai, who co-sponsored the measure with council member Jamal Osman.

Veto Frey to come

Frey has previously said he would veto any actual 3% policy approved by the board. A few hours after the council adjourned, he confirmed that he would keep his promise.

“I will veto the council’s rent control proposal which was passed today,” he said in a statement. “I don’t support a policy that has always proven counterproductive to housing supply and affordability.”

Nine of the council’s 13 votes will be needed to override Frey’s veto. Some board members said they would support less restrictive policies. But none of them have come up with anything yet, raising the possibility that time has run out due to council inaction.

Proponents of rent control know the math well. As they celebrated the council vote, they said they knew a veto from the mayor could come quickly.

“I think it’s a great starting point, and if it needs to be negotiated, it’s part of the process,” said Jennifer Arnold, co-director of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (Renters United for Justice).

Minneapolis voters in 2021 gave the city council the power to put a rent control proposal on the ballot. Last year, the council set up a working group of landlords and tenants to study the issue. The majority of that group favored the 3% cap — a plan that would give Minneapolis one of the toughest policies in the country. But a significant minority backed a looser plan.

how they voted

In addition to Jenkins and Chughtai, council members voting for the rent control policy were Elliott Payne, Robin Wonsley, Jeremiah Ellison, Jamal Osman and Jason Chavez.

Council members who voted against were Michael Rainville, LaTrisha Vetaw, Emily Koski, Andrew Johnson and Council Vice Chair Linea Palmisano. Council member Lisa Goodman was absent.

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