Minnesota’s Disability Day off the Capitol 2021
Disability Day off the Capitol took place on February 26th. Attendees virtually shared personal stories with representatives as well as advocated for important disability legislation. Senator Paul Utke and Senator John Hoffman were present and gave updates on programs in progress, such as the Minnesota Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program.
“When it comes to what’s important in disability services, we have to leave our ego in the hallway,” Senator Hoffman said in his opening statement. “I’m a democrat, Utke is a republican. So what? When it comes to disability services, it doesn’t matter. We’re in this game to fight for our rights period.” Hoffman went on to encourage attendees to continue to rally, write letters, and share their stories. “Remind us every day.”
Below is a short summary of some of the important proposed legislature in Minnesota:
SF439 and SF658
These companion bills would repeal the statutes authorizing subminimum wage for individuals with a disability and establish a task force to phase it out by August 1st, 2025. These bills would also improve wages and sustainable employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
HF923 and SF858
This bill would provide additional grants to maintain and promote self-advocacy services and supports for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
HF3654 and SF3457
HF3654 and its companion SF3457 propose to reform the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) system in hopes of reducing the workforce shortage. A shortage of approximately 5,000 PCA positions means that many individuals with disabilities rotate through multiple caretakers or are forced into costly institutions. This bill would increase pay for PCAs, as well as implement reformed methodology for increasing the rate of pay in the future.
HF1347 and SF1092
These bills would modify the disability services policy statements regarding informed choice to ensure that individuals with disabilities and their families are given access to all of the tools, information, and opportunities that they request in order to understand all of their options.
Many of these proposed bills will be referenced at the upcoming Disability Services Day off the Capitol on March 9th. Organizations and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are uniting again, this time to educate legislators about the importance of their role within the disability community and the impact future legislation could have. Due to COVID-19, the event will be held virtually via Zoom for registants. Non-registrants can also tune in via ARRM’s Facebook live feed. Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, the event will be accessible for many individuals that would otherwise be unable to physically attend.
You can register to attend the virtual event here.
The event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a virtual “Rally in the Rotunda”, followed by individual legislative representative meetings until 3:30 p.m. To organize a meeting, fill out this contact form.