Advocacy News | April 15, 2021

Well, welcome to the last month of session, folks. This is the time when things change fast and change often -- appointments change, floor sessions pop up, delete-all amendments to vehicle bills modify scope and scale and subject. To all of our friends who are in charge of bill tracking for their organizations -- we feel you! And to all of the LA's and CA's and elected officials at the capitol, we get it. No worries. That's just how it goes.

During the end of session flexibility is key. We appreciate those members who have rolled with the changes since our meetings with legislators have been moving around a lot. We love including our members in those meetings, and we've gotten comments that having Chamber members participate really is helpful to legislators as well.

Politics is about people, and people are about relationships, so the more opportunity you have to make those connections -- especially BEFORE you need something or have an issue -- the better your outcomes can be. At the Chamber, we strive to help you make those connections, by sharing news of elected-hosted opportunities, as well as creating our own spaces for introductions and interactions. If you have an idea or a suggestion for a new way to do that, or if there is someone you'd like to connect with, please let us know.

Shannon Watson
Vice President of Public Affairs
Follow me on Twitter @Shannon_SPACC

p.s. Speaking of connections... great news! The Gold Line BRT got the green light from the Federal Transit Administration, which moves the project into engineering. Gold Line is a major piece in connecting our transit system across our whole region!
Instead of another webinar presentation to watch, our members are invited to participate in a roundtable meeting around a timely issue.

Issue Forum on St. Paul Parking Minimums
The City of St. Paul is engaged in a zoning study to consider a reduction or elimination of parking minimums. The Chamber, the St. Paul Downtown Alliance and the ESABA are hosting an Issue Forum to hear from city staff about the study, learn about possible outcomes, and to discuss the issue from a business perspective.
This Issue Forum is open to any business, not just limited to members.
Monday, April 19 3:00-4:00 pm

Consistent flooding in Shoreview may be addressed soon by Ramsey County.

Ramsey County wants to create an additional property tax levy, but the cities of North St. Paul and St. Paul have to be on board. Other cities are concerned about a "double whammy" of tax increases.

St Paul Mayor issues rare veto in Alatus development site plan approval appeal issue.

City of Eagan is asking residents to take their trash with them when visiting parks.

Lilydale considers a new TIF district for a senior housing complex development.
We regularly get calls from reporters looking for businesses to comment on a wide set of issues. To make those interactions easier and quicker we keep a list of member company media contacts and areas of expertise. If your company is willing to speak to media on the record, email Shannon and she'll add you to the list.

Governor Walz extends the peacetime emergency another 30 days, but is not planning on turning the dial back.

How much infrastructure spending do we need? The legislature is debating that question again.

Some DFL lawmakers want the legislature to stop negotiating the budget until their police reforms are passed through the Senate. Senator Gazelka committed to holding hearings, but didn't promise any bill action.
Supporting our members' own advocacy at the Capitol and in City Halls across the East Metro. If you have an issue you’re working on and would like support from the Chamber, contact Shannon to discuss the options. From committee testimony, to letters of support, to meetings with elected officials, we're here to support you and champion an economically vibrant business community. Especially if you do not have in-house government relations staff or contract lobbyists to move your issues, our public affairs team can be a powerful ally and a valuable benefit of membership.
Public Policy Conversations are back for 2021, with a focus on east metro legislators. These meetings will be held via Zoom, with an opportunity for our members to participate live. To be invited to the meeting, complete the form and we'll add you to the calendar invitation. (Invitations close at noon the business day prior, so get your request in early.)
Representative Don Raleigh
Circle Pines
April 19 8:00-8:30 am
Representative Kaohly Her
St. Paul
April 20 3:00-3:30 pm
Representative Jay Xiong
St. Paul
April 26 2:30-3:00 pm
Representative Kaela Berg
April 27 1:00-1:30 pm
Senator Mary Kunesh
New Brighton
April 29 9:00-9:30 am
Representative Steve Sandell
May 5 9:00-9:30 am

Most legislators have put holds on town halls for the next month, because (as you might have read above) schedules are going to be a bit unpredictable until adjournment on May 17. But we do anticipate a flurry of meetings to jump on the calendar afterwards, so watch this space for more opportunities to connect with legislators in their districts.
Thank you to the following companies supporting public affairs initiatives and programming in 2021!
Want to see your logo here? It's not too late! Contact Shannon.
St. Paul Area Chamber