St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota People’s Bailout legislation was introduced in the Minnesota State Senate and House, Feb. 9. Authored by Senator David J. Tomassoni (D-Chisholm), and Representative David Bly (D-Northfield) the Minnesota People’s Bailout Act is a legislative attempt to protect the interests of low-income and working Minnesotans from the worst effects of the deepening economic crisis in Minnesota and the nation.
Deb Konechne, a leader of the Minnesota People’s Bailout Coalition and a member Welfare Rights Committee said, “The introduction of this legislation is an important step in the effort to protect low-income and working Minnesotans from the ever-growing economic crisis. The act will provide protection from most damaging affects of unemployment, mortgage foreclosures and evictions.”
The bill would extend and expand eligibility for unemployment benefits, create a new public works program to put people to work and put a moratorium on the five-year lifetime limit for public assistance. The act would also prevent the legislature from mandating layoffs of state workers, including workers at the University of Minnesota.
The bill calls for a 2-year moratorium on housing foreclosures. It also would change Minnesota law so that banks and mortgage companies that have foreclosed on rental property be required to honor the existing tenants’ leases.
“Thousands of Minnesota tenants have been made homeless because their landlord was forced into foreclosure. The bank or mortgage company ended the leases of these tenants when reclaiming the building. This is unfair to tenants who, due to no fault of their own, find themselves suddenly homeless,” said Mick Kelly, of the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout.
“Many of the foreclosed properties in Minneapolis and Saint Paul had supplied affordable rents to low-income Minnesotans. These units must be kept open and available. Banks and mortgage companies that give loans to buyers of these rental properties must accept the responsibility of those landlords. Tenants should not be victimized, first by financially failing landlords and then by the banks and mortgage companies that initiate foreclosures,” said Kelly.
The Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout came together to push for support for the bill in the Minnesota state legislature. The Coalition includes members of AFSCME Local 3800, the Welfare Rights Committee, the Minnesota Tenants Union and others.
“No one in Minnesota should be cold, hungry or homeless as a result of this economic crisis,” said Phyllis Walker, of the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout and president of AFSCME Local 3800.
“The banks and corporations are getting billions of dollars to survive the economic crisis. Meanwhile, working people are being laid off in massive numbers. The People’s Bailout legislation will take basic steps in the interests of the people of Minnesota,” said Walker. “The Minnesota legislature must show that it represents the people of this state by passing this act and taking other concrete steps to protect Minnesotans from the worst effects of this crisis.”