April 2021 Government Affairs Report
As we approach the halfway point of 2021, we continue to build on the 2020 government affairs success we had creating new opportunities and funding for the modular industry. MBI’s Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah-Spacagna, continues to work closely with our lobbying teams in California, Washington, DC and New York to promote and protect our industry by forming coalitions with likeminded organizations as well as utilizing relationships at the regulatory, state, federal and provincial levels to present new opportunities for MBI members.
CMHC Rapid Housing Initiative
The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation just announced on May 4 that they are committing an additional $1.5 billion toward their Rapid Housing Initiative for the 2021-2022 budget year. This program will continue to focus on modular only built affordable housing across Canada.
This is in addition to their initial $1 billion funding in 2020-2021 for this initiative.
At the federal level in the United States, we continue to make progress promoting modular as an alternative to current FEMA use of HUD trailers. This would include a partnership with FEMA and HUD to create a program that would allow modular structures to be utilized post-catastrophe and then converted into permanent, long-term affordable housing. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY) and Rep. Charlie Crist (FL) are supporting these proposals and working with MBI and our DC lobbyists for passage. Currently Rep. Torres has just requested a Government Accountability Office study to be completed on this proposal.
Also in the US, the Pro Act has passed the House but has not seen any traction in the Senate at this time. We will continue to monitor this situation and have connected with staffers for key members in the Senate to kill this bill.
MBI continues to push for the adoption of the Modular Financing Toolkit, originally produced in cooperation with Fannie Mae.
In California, MBI Executive Director, Tom Hardiman and Government Affairs Director, Jon Hannah-Spacagna were invited by HCD and California state leaders to participate in a statewide task force to utilize modular to address the affordable housing crisis in California. We had our first call on April 27. We will continue to keep members informed as this initiative progresses.
MBI is also partnering with housing coalition partners to support several other bills related to affordable housing at the state level in California and have worked with our lobbying team in California to provide letters of support for the following bills:
- AB 1056 will direct the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to explore how the state can best support the development of industrialized housing. Industrialized construction techniques can produce housing faster, more affordably, and with fewer materials than traditional construction.
- Bill passed out of the Housing and Community Development committee on May 3 and has been referred to the Appropriations committee.
- AB 1401 would prohibit a local government from imposing or enforcing a minimum parking requirement on developments located near public transit or within a low vehicle miles traveled area. This measure would reduce car dependence, lower carbon emissions, and encourage more housing production near transit.
- On May 3, this bill passed out of the Housing and Community Development committee on May 3 and has been referred to the Appropriations committee.
- Senate Bill 478 ensures that local zoned density and state housing laws are not undermined by hyper-restrictive lot requirements that make it practically impossible to build multifamily buildings in areas zoned to allow them.
- This bill passed the Committee on Housing on April 29 and has been referred to the Appropriations Committee.
- SB 477 strengthens California’s housing data collection to ensure the state and the public understand the impact and effectiveness of state housing laws.
- Currently assigned to the Appropriations committee. No hearing date has been set.
- This bill would enact the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2022, which, if adopted, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,500,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law. Proceeds from the sale of these bonds would be used to fund affordable rental housing and homeownership programs. The bill would state the intent of the Legislature to determine the allocation of those funds to specific programs.
- SB9 would promote small-scale neighborhood residential development by streamlining the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot in all residential areas.
- Bill is set for Hearing in the Appropriations committee on May 10.
In Illinois, SB1839, which would create an equal environment for modular construction with site-built construction, removing current hurdles that could occur at the state, city or local levels, passed the Senate unanimously on April 13 and is now in the House. We are working with House Sponsor, Assembly member, Sonya Harper, to further support this bill’s passage.
In New York, A2039/S4738 which would require use of New York City labor for modular projects, regardless of where they are built. MBI and our NY lobbyist are currently working with coalition partners as well as central staff to defeat this bill. We are also in discussions with the bill sponsor to potentially withdraw the bill or at least not bring it to a floor vote during this session.
Also in New York, S2766/A3350 which would force a general contractor or construction manager under contract on a private construction project to be liable for any subcontractors’ wage violations. We have had several calls with committee members and leadership in both houses to ask them to defeat these bills. MBI has also worked with our lobbyist to submit a Memorandum of Opposition to key legislators and committee members to defeat these bills. This bill is still in the Labor Committee and has no votes scheduled at this time.
The MBI government affairs team will continue to provide updates and breaking news as new information is received on these key issues.
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Updates from New York, Michigan, California, Virginia, and more.
Updates from Washington DC, New York, Michigan, California, & more.