The 2019 Legislative Session, like most years, was a busy one. For the first time in eight years we had a new Governor as well as 27 Legislators who were new to the process. There was no shortage of bills introduced, 463 to be exact, not including resolutions or commemorations. Highlighted below are issues SDMHA focused on during the session.
SDMHA first learned of the Governor's DakotaPlex project during her State of the State Address at the beginning of the 2019 Legislative Session. DakotaPlex is a program similar to that of the Governor's Homes. These projects will be built as duplex, triplex, or quadriplex units. The initiative of this and other projects the Governor has brought forward is an effort to revitalize rural South Dakota. Read more on this here. Since the announcement, SDMHA has met with both the Governor's staff as well as the Housing Development Authority to discuss this issue. We also have plans to tour the building facility in Springfield, SD. Our message has been that we want to continue to be part of the discussion and solution to the affordable housing needs in rural South Dakota. An article on the DakotaPlex project can be found here.
House Bill 1079 was an act to allow a person to perform plumbing work on the person's own property without a license and establish a fee. Representative Otten (R-Lennox), who is in the construction business, brought the bill to clarify what type of plumbing work can be done on a person's property without a license. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Noem on March 1, 2019.
Two different attempts were made at increasing taxes for county funding this session. Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Senator Novstrup (R-Aberdeen) and Representative York (R-Watertown) proposed an increase of the sales and use tax not to exceed ½ cent. This would have required a vote of the people before enacting. There was also an attempt to create a 1% Bed, Board and Booze tax. While SB65 made it out of committee, neither proposal gained enough support in the Senate to move to the House and were therefore defeated. These had an uphill battle from the beginning as the Governor ran her campaign on, among other pillars, no new taxes.
Senate Bill 165 started out as a vehicle bill, one without anything but a title as a placeholder to be amended later if needed. One sentence was later added to this bill: for the purposes of ad valorem taxation, real property includes a recreational park trailer, as defined in § 32-3-1, which is not licensed as a recreational vehicle in accordance with chapter 32-5. SDMHA monitored this bill closely, working with prime sponsor, Lynne DiSanto (R-Rapid City). The bill ended up being tabled by the Senate Taxation Committee by a vote of 7-0.
Where to begin with Senate Bill 187, a bill titled 'An act to define electric bicycles and to provide for the regulation of electric bicycles'. How would this ever pertain to the manufactured housing community with a title like that? The bill aimed at just what the title described, providing a definition in statute for electric bicycles but to do so it opened up a chapter that also contained manufactured homes. The bill ended up only a few pages but at one point in the process was well over 40! SDMHA monitored the bill to ensure the manufactured housing language was removed before the bill got to the Governor's desk.
The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is our watchdog at the national level. We work closely with MHI to ensure the industry is adequately represented at the federal level. Below is a list of industry issues MHI is working on in Washington DC.
MHI is making manufactured housing a part of Administration and Congressional discussions about improving access to credit for affordable housing. MHI is building support for and advancing its legislative and regulatory priorities, which include clarifying and modifying CFPB financing rules, requiring the Government Sponsored Enterprises to support chattel lending and improving FHA mortgage insurance programs for manufactured housing.
MHI is focused on ensuring that regulatory initiatives undertaken by the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs foster uniformity, ease of compliance, and minimize discrepancies and overlap with state and local codes. This includes revisiting and revising HUD’s on-site completion rule, ensuring HUD’s installation guidance memos are in line with regulatory parameters, and encouraging HUD to exercise preemption when local regulatory construction standards and zoning policies adversely impact manufactured housing, communities and the supply of affordable homes.
MHI is working to ensure that the energy tax credit is extended and also seeking opportunities to increase the tax credit. In addition, MHI is advocating for HUD to retain regulatory authority over manufactured housing standards and working with the Department of Energy to ensure that energy standards are clear and appropriately balance efficiency with affordability.
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