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Minneapolis Rent Stabilization Group Pushes For “Thoughtful and Deliberate Consideration”
On Wednesday, members of the Housing/Rent Stabilization Work Group in Minneapolis, established with the mandate to develop recommendations on a rent stabilization policy framework, published an open letter to Mayor Jacob Frey calling the process into question. The letter, shared with Next City, says that a majority of the group (56%) approved a rent stabilization framework and the mayor did not bother to look into the research or analysis they conducted.
“Throughout the process, our foremost goal was to design a policy framework that would be best suited for Minneapolis’ complex housing market. After many months of diligent work and consideration of options, we each chose to vote for a policy recommendation that we felt best suited the city’s needs,” the letter reads.
For context, the group was formed after Minneapolis voters passed a ballot measure giving the city council authority to create a rent control ordinance. The working group proposed a 3% rent cap in December, suggesting it go before voters this November. But Frey immediately said that he would veto it if it came before him.
The letter authors are asking for “more thoughtful and deliberate consideration be given to the working group’s majority recommendation and the details it contains.”
Also, here’s what’s new with Atlanta’s affordable housing strike force.
Could Banned Books Mean Jail Time For Librarians?
Coda Story reports that a law passed last year in Missouri, SB 775, has made librarians fear criminal prosecution for giving students books already approved by the school board. SB 775 outlaws the distribution of “pornographic” material to minors, in theory making exceptions for works of art. The law is broad and school districts have interpreted the law even more broadly, using it to remove books about LGBTQ identity or works of art depicting nudity.
A list of books removed due to SB 775 collected by PEN America includes dystopian social science fiction novel “1984,” art history books, the graphic novel “Fun Home,” memoir “Gender Queer,” and graphic novels based on “Kindred” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
In Texas, More EV Charging May Be On The Way
Two bills in Texas could help spur the state’s electric vehicle supply, according to the Texas Tribune. Only 0.4% of the state’s vehicles are currently electric, and part of the reason may be that the state only has 329 fast-charging stations spread out over 270,000 square miles.
One state Senate bill introduced in March would create a legal framework for building new electric charging stations and another Senate bill lays out a process for the stations to be registered and receive inspections. The latter bill has passed in the Senate and the former is set to receive a Senate vote after being voted out of committee, according to the Texas Tribune.
Elected Officials and Environmentalists Call For Ban On PFAS-tainted Fertilizer
WBUR reports that the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant — which treats Boston’s sewage and converts waste into fertilizer — was not built to handle PFAS, which have been found in concentrated amounts in the fertilizer. Elected officials and environmentalists are now calling for a ban on shipping the fertilizer, which is sent to 20 states across the country. Some also believe that the issues are widespread across the country. “I think if they go and look, they’re going to discover that this is a huge contamination issue everywhere,” one doctoral student studying the issue told WBUR.
PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl, is a chemical used in industrial production which has been linked to harmful effects in humans. It’s often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
Also: Grist reports that warming temperatures have caused an unseasonably early spring in much of the East Coast.
Seattle Establishes Sick Leave For Gig Workers
Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to make mandatory paid sick leave for gig workers permanent, Crosscut reports. It’s the first such law in the country covering app-based gig workers. The law will cover “doctor’s appointments, recovery from an illness or injury, preventative care, care of a family member or for safety reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking,” according to Crosscut. A 2022 law already provides sick leave to ride hail drivers, so this law would mainly apply to app-based food delivery.
This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.
Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.