That rent control measure that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey promised to veto Thursday? Turns out he can't veto it after all, the city attorney says.
While Frey as mayor has the authority to veto a policy adopted by City Council members, he can't block a council request to have the city attorney draft it for them, according to a memo issued Friday.
In the big scheme of whether or not Minneapolis will enact a rent control policy, this latest development will likely be a blip — but it does affect how things proceed.
Here's what happened:
A divided City Council on Thursday approved a resolution directing the city attorney to draft a rent control policy that would ultimately have to be approved by voters in November's election.
In a victory for rent control advocates, the council voted 7-5 to start out with a policy that would limit rent increases to 3% a year with few exceptions — making it perhaps the most restrictive in the country.
Frey, and likely a majority of council members, consider that too restrictive and don't support it. The mayor announced he'd veto the council's action.
But he doesn't have the authority to veto what is essentially a council request to its lawyer to write something up, according to a Friday memo from City Attorney Kristyn Anderson, whose office serves as legal counsel to both the City Council and the mayor.
The mix-up wasn't all Frey's fault, Anderson suggested.
"Prior to and during the Council meeting, there was discussion that the Motion would be presented to the Mayor and be subject to the Mayor's veto authority," she wrote in the memo, addressed to Frey and City Council President Andrea Jenkins. "This advice was delivered to the Mayor.
"Upon review, I have determined that the advice was not correct. The Motion is not an 'act by the Council' and therefore is not subject to presentation to the Mayor, nor is it subject to Mayoral approval or veto."
With no veto in play, the next step is for the City Attorney's Office to draft the policy, which will be debated by the City Council and subject to a public hearing.
If and when the council approves a rent control policy to appear on the ballot, that could be vetoed by Frey before it goes to the voters.