Minnesota House passes bills on price gouging, homelessness

Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass bills to ban price gouging during times of emergency and help keep youth from homelessness.

The price gouging bill wouldn’t allow businesses to “excessively” increase the price on essential goods and services during a period where the governor has declared a market disruption.

This would apply when Minnesota is under a public emergency.

A similar measure was passed in 2021 in response to price spikes seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-related disasters in parts of the southern United States that year.

The homelessness bill sets aside $300 million to address the issue of homelessness, including funding for more emergency shelters.

The bill, named the “Pathway Home Act,” includes money for emergency services, aiding homeless youth and transitional housing programs.

Supporters say it makes life-saving investments into the homeless response system in Minnesota.

A similar initiative was introduced Wednesday, which focuses on the state’s larger housing crisis.

That bill is named “All Roads Lead Back to Home” and calls for billions of dollars in the state budget to be dedicated to creating more affordable housing.

Under that, $1 billion would go to building and preserving more than 150,000 homes in the next 10 years, while another billion dollars would address various housing challenges, including preventing homelessness and creating more avenues to home ownership. That plan also includes a $1 billion investment to address future housing needs.

With the House’s approval, both bills now go to the Senate.