June 2021 Government Affairs Update
MBI government affairs work remains busy as we hit the mid-year point of 2021.
In Illinois, SB1839 which creates an equal environment for modular construction with site-built construction, removing current hurdles that could occur at the state, city or local levels. The bill was sent to Governor Pritzker for signing on June 25.
In Canada, MBI continues to work closely with leadership at the Canadian Housing Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) as they continue their Rapid Housing Initiative to address affordable housing using only modular construction. CMHC recently announced that in addition to the initial $1.2 billion investment in this initiative, they have since partnered with Scotiabank to add an additional $3 billion to their funding of this program. We have a call coming up later in July with our CMHC contact to discuss future opportunities to continue our partnership with them.
Also in Canada, we are still working on UL2600. We have been informed it will not be included in the new 2020 Canadian Codes. We are discussing next steps with our consultants and our Canadian Council members.
In the United States at the federal level, the PRO Act passed the House and has been referred to the Senate. We continue to work with our DC lobbyists and coalition partners to stop this bill. There hasn’t been any action taken in the Senate since it was move there in March of 2021.
Also in DC, we are working with Congressman Crist (FL) and Congressman Torres (NY) on a potential bill that would utilize modular for post catastrophe housing in addition to providing long-term housing solutions post catastrophe. Congressman Torres has requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) complete a study on the cost effectiveness of this opportunity as it would create a bridge from FEMA to HUD to address both issues. MBI and our lobbyists continue to work closely with the Congressmen and their staff on this topic.
In Virginia, MBI worked with state officials to encourage them to recruit a modular manufacturer to open a facility in the state to address their housing needs. In May 2021, Governor Northam announced they had confirmed a partnership with a modular manufacturer to build a facility in Newport News that will bring 220 new jobs to the state and increase the use of modular construction to add to their current modular projects of addressing housing needs in the state.
Recently MBI's executive director Tom Hardiman and government affairs director Jon Hannah-Spacagna were recruited by the Administrator of the California Housing and Community Development department (HCD) to join a very select task force to address affordable housing in California. This group includes several MBI member companies as well as key cabinet members from the Governor’s office. Their goal is to recruit modular manufacturers to build new factories in the state with the newly announced $12 billion budget for affordable housing from Governor Newsome. This plan also includes using California timber to address their fire season issues. This task force has already had one zoom meeting and Tom and Jon have had side-bar discussions with HCD leadership to provide guidance on this initiative.
MBI continues to monitor and focus on the following California bills, which are still on track to full passage:
SB 9 (Atkins - D) Housing development approvals – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
SB 10 (Wiener - D) Planning and zoning: housing density – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
SB 477 (Wiener - D) General plan: annual report – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
SB 478 (Wiener) – Floor area ratio: housing developments - MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
AB 1401 (Friedman) Development projects: parking requirements – MBI Supports w/ Coalition Letter
The MBI government affairs team will continue to provide updates and breaking news as new information is received on these key issues.