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Letter: Sen. Matt Little’s bill would weaken local government control

Minnesotans value strong local democracy and want local governments to have the power to protect their communities from unanticipated and harmful developments. But corporate interests are pushing legislation at the state Capitol that would make it more difficult for townships and cities to respond to unexpected development. I’m disappointed that Sen. Matt Little is a co-author of this bill, Senate File 201, that weakens the rights of local governments to enact an interim ordinance.

The interim ordinance power gives local governments the ability to quickly enact a moratorium when the community is caught off-guard by unanticipated and potentially harmful proposals, especially those from outside corporate interests. This is an emergency power that is essential to protecting the community. The interim ordinance freezes the status quo and gives the community time to review or create the appropriate zoning ordinances.

Senate File 201 requires that an interim ordinance be passed by a two-thirds supermajority. We should not tie the hands of local government that want to protect the community. This is an attempt to make this protection hard to use. It favors corporate interests and works against citizens wanting the city or township to take quick action to protect the community. Our local government is the closest to the people, and therefore best able to respond to the needs of the community. Their powers should not be weakened. Sen. Little should not support legislation that weakens the rights of local communities.