Cities Say State Lawmakers Are Seizing Local Power More Than Ever Before

Several groups sent a letter to legislative leaders asking them to stop usurping local governmental authority

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Several groups representing cities across Minnesota are voicing concerns about proposals from the Minnesota Legislature they say will take away local governing authority.

Five groups signed on to a letter sent March 20 to Minnesota’s legislative leaders, asking lawmakers to reconsider several bills they believe usurps local decision making.

The League of Minnesota Cities, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities, the Minnesota Association of Small Cities, and the Municipal Legislative Coalition sent the letter.

“As representatives of cities across the state, we are very concerned about this trend and the effects of bills that could significantly hinder local officials from effectively acting to serve their local communities,” they wrote.

The groups are concerned about several pieces of legislation. These include a multitude of bills that eliminate local government aid for cities not meeting certain requirements, as well as HF 2412, which repeals city authority to establish special service districts, and the “employment mandates on private employers uniformity” bill, which prohibits cities from enacting local employer benefit or minimum wage requirements.

The League of Minnesota Cities’ posted a list of the exact bills they are concerned about on their website.

Assistant Intergovernmental Relations Director for the League of Minnesota Cities, Anne Finn, tells Alpha News she has seen an unprecedented number of bills this legislative session that take away local authority.

“There are a couple dozen bills that have been introduced that go in the opposite direction when it comes to local decision making,” Finn said, “But we’ve also seen the sheer number of bills is more than we’ve seen in recent history.”

Finn said they have not received a response from lawmakers since sending their letter last week.

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Julia Erynn