September 15, 2011
MN-CCD hosted a Town Hall Forum in Moorhead on Thursday, September 15th at the Hjemkomst Center to bring elected officials and community members together to talk about the state budget impact on our neighbors who are aging or living with disabilities. Many of the same services that are provided to people with disabilities are also provided to our aging neighbors – cuts to disabilities impact aging in many of the same ways.
Over 50 community members joined MN-CCD, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the Alzheimer’s Association and Lakes and Prairies Community Action to hear a presentation from MN-CCD about specifics of the state budget impact and to be trained on how to tell their story to legislators.
Elected officials joined the community members to hear their stories. Elected officials present for the evening were County Commissioner Jon Evert, Rep. Paul Marquart, Rep. Morrie Lanning and Senator Keith Langseth. Ten members of the community testified and shared their stories – several stated that they had no intention of testifying when they arrived that evening, but were moved to do so after what they had learned. Check out Cuts to services hit close to home for some in Minnesota from the Fargo Forum for some highlights from the public testimony. The event was also covered on the evening news at WDAY.
There are more Town Hall Forums hosted by MN-CCD around the state throughout the fall. Check out this list for Town Hall information in your community.
-Susie Schatz, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
On Monday, June 20th, Governor Mark Dayton announced that he will be revising his recommended list of essential services that should continue during a shutdown to include payments to providers of health and economic assistance services. Click here for more information.
This would include payments to disability services providers under Medical Assistance. The inclusion of disability service provider payments in Governor Dayton’s recommended list of essential services was an issue that MN-CCD and many member organizations had been diligently working on in recent days.
ARRM (Association of Residential Resources inMinnesota), MHC (MN Habilitation Coalition) and MnDACA (MN Association for Community Supports) filed an amicus brief in Ramsey County Court addressing this issue just yesterday. The brief makes the case that in the event of a government shutdown, residential and day activity services provided to Minnesotans with disabilities should be deemed as “essential” services and the state should continue to pay for these services to be provided. The petition demonstrates that without payments for these services, people would be harmed.
The MN Disability Law Center and other individual MN-CCD member organizations had also been in communications with theDaytonadministration and others about the importance of continuing disability service provider payments in the event of a shutdown. Thank you to all disability community members who advocated on this important issue. While it is certainly good news that multiple legal briefs have now been filed calling for the payment of MA services to continue in the event of a shutdown, the matter has not yet been decided. Ramsey County Court will take up the matter this Thursday, and at this time it is unclear whether the court will issue a decision that very day of which (if any) services will be deemed “essential” in the event of a shutdown.
Amidst all the confusion over the potential upcoming government shutdown, MN-CCD continues to capture stories from individuals and organizations illustrating what substantial legislative cuts to disability services would look like. We continue to look for stories to share with legislators and the media, and we have helpful tools that can be used to construct these stories. Please contact us if you are interested in sharing your stories and/or accessing these tools.
In other timely updates, ADAPT MN will be hosting a Minnesota Community Living Leadership Award Ceremony this Thursday, June 23, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda. ADAPT Minnesota is thanking Governor Mark Dayton for vetoing several finance bills that would have created significant harm throughout the disability community. For more information on this event, click here.
Minnesota Capitol Rotunda,
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Saint Paul
Join the MN-CCD for a ‘Faces of Disability’ fair in the rotunda of the State Capitol.
- Photos of individuals with disabilities living in and contributing to their communities
- The “Institutions to Independence” video documenting the history of the disability service movement
- A complete history of disability in Minnesota
- A chance to get involved in some disability advocacy
The event is an opportunity to celebrate the positive contributions of the disability community and create awareness of how far we have come as a state in our community supports.
Please stop by anytime between 10 – Noon. We look forward to seeing you!
Check out this wonderful article from the New York Times about the therapeutic uses of the iPad for individuals with disabilities.
The uses include using text-to-speech applications to give patients a voice. Allowing Christopher Bulger, a 16-year-old from Chicago who injured his spine in a car accident, to surf the Internet during the early stages of his rehabilitation when his hands were clenched into fists. As well as giving children with autism applications to learn basic skills, like brushing teeth and communicating better.
A wave of voter discontent has dramatically altered the balance of political power at both the state and federal level. Republicans have taken control of the U.S. House and both the House and Senate of the Minnesota Legislature. The trend also affected gubernatorial races in many states, including Minnesota. A whisker-thin margin separating DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer has triggered a recount, which will begin the Monday after Thanksgiving. This shifting landscape raises many questions:
How will these changes affect the disability community?
As an overall community, we have cultivated relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle. Our issues are nonpartisan, and while the legislators in key positions of power will change, we anticipate strong connections with committee chairs and leadership in both the House and Senate.
How this change in leadership will affect individuals more specifically is unclear. Most of the 40 newly elected members where a different party now controls the seats within the state House and Senate were elected on a platform of ‘no new taxes’ and less government. Significant changes will need to be made to the state human services budget to honor this pledge.
What if there is a recount? Does Gov. Pawlenty stay in office until it is settled?
Yes. While the current gubernatorial term ends in January 2011, if the recount hasn’t been settled by then, Pawlenty will remain as governor.
The state still has a huge budget deficit, right?
Yes, there is still an anticipated budget hole of about $6 billion that needs to be plugged by the next legislature. We will continue to champion the needs of all members of the disability community, especially when it comes to access to rehabilitation services, PCA services, and those on the Medicaid waivers.
Who are the new leaders?
We await the recount of the Governor’s race before knowing who is to replace Gov. Pawlenty, but we do know more about the House and Senate. In the House, the new majority leader is Rep. Matt Dean, with the all important speaker being the former minority leader Rep. Kurt Zellers. The DFL have selected former Health and Human Services Policy Committee Chair Rep. Paul Thissen as their minority leader, after he won a three way race over Rep. Ryan Winkler and Rep. Tina Liebling. In the Senate, former Taxes Committee Chair Sen. Tom Bakk was selected unanimously as the new minority leader. Whereas, the Republicans have made Sen. Amy Koch the first woman majority leader in the history of the Minnesota Senate.
So what HAS changed?
The state Senate will have 16 new members and the House will have 24. These are people we need to educate about disability. Some will have connections to disability and the world of services those with complex conditions require, but many will not.
There are significant philosophical differences between the DFL and Republican parties. If we look to the past to help predict the future, in the area of human services, proposals that have been forwarded by those who will now control the committee agendas include:
- limits on the size of the state’s health budget
- medical or health savings accounts
- for profit (vs. nonprofit) health plans
What can I do?
Encourage all people to reach out to their elected representatives, regardless of political party. While we have seen some of our friends and champions of disability services lose their opportunity to serve in the legislature, we need to welcome those who have replaced them and let them know how much the work we do matters to those who need our services.
2010 is an exciting year, the persons elected to the Minnesota legislature will play an important role in Minnesota’s future. So let’s take advantage of the summer weather, enjoy some great food from the grill, get to know the candidates from your district, and learn where they stand on the issues that matter most to you.
Monday August 23 • Boom Island Park, Area C
724 Sibley St. NE Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Tuesday August 31 • Kingsley Commons
4550 N Humboldt Ave, Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Thursday September 2 • Powderhorn Park
3400 15th Avenue S, Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Join us so you can make a more informed decision on November 2.
Contact Anni S at 651-523-0823 ext. 112 or email@example.com for more information.
Last week was a very busy week at the capitol for disability advocates – and this week will likely be the same. Just a few of the highlights of activities currently being work on:
As has been the case for some time now, much focus at the capitol is on the GAMC issue (more background info at www.savegamc.org). On Thursday, Feb. 25th the Minnesota Senate voted 45 to 21 to override the Governor’s veto of GAMC legislation. The House is preparing to have an override vote as this is being written. Auto – enrollment of GAMC participants into MinnCare, a solution proposed earlier this year by the Governor that many advocates believe will be insufficient, begins at the end of March – so legislators are working hard to identify an alternate solution as soon as possible.
MN-CCD leaders have been busy working with stakeholders to craft legislation that would propose slight changes to the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) program to address some of the complications that have arose along with the implementation of last session’s PCA reforms. This legislation will likely be introduced early the week of March 1st. MN-CCD members will be monitoring the progress of this bill and working hard to support it.
Similarly, MN-CCD leaders have also been busy working on crafting a bill proposing changes to the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities program (MA-EPD), and this will likely be introduced this week. MN-CCD members will work to monitor and support this bill. This legislation would allow MA-EPD enrollees and their spouses who have been eligible for MA-EPD for at least 24 months prior to turning 65 to retain assets after their 65th birthday which were accumulated while eligible for MA-EPD. It would also require DHS to give MA-EPD enrollees notice of the more stringent income and asset eligibility rules which will applied upon turning age 65.
MN-CCD members and their constituents continue to maintain a strong grassroots presence at the capitol in an effort to advocate for the issues above as well as for protection of current funding for disability programs. “Tuesdays at the Capitol” are gaining momentum, and we are always looking for more participants! You can find more info at www.mnccd.org.
JOIN US! – Each Tuesday during the legislative session, MN-CCD will be at the Capitol to help people share their stories about the importance of disability services with legislators and to ensure there is a disability community presence at the Capitol.
Welcome and introduction with MN-CCD leaders in the State Office Building Basement Cafeteria – (right side of the room)
10:30am – 12pm
Meet with your legislators and share your personal story
12:00pm – 1pm
Lunch in the Department of Transportation Cafeteria
Advocates are encouraged to attend hearings or meet with their legislators if they were unable to do so in the morning
Email Anni at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for one or more Tuesdays at the Capitol. Advocates are encouraged to set up meetings with legislators in advance (contact MN-CCD or your affiliated advocacy organization for assistance). While we hope you can join us at 10 a.m., you are welcome to join in at any time.
Check out www.mnccd.org for more information about advocating with the MN-CCD at “Tuesdays at the Capitol”.
Please join us as panelists discuss the state of health care in Minnesota, the challenges we face in health and long term care reform, and the solutions for the future.
The panelists will include experts in health care, long-term care, disability services and public policy from state agencies, the legislature and the health care profession.
Monday, Feb. 22nd
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Kelly Inn – St. Paul
161 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103
The program will begin with a keynote speaker (hors d’oeuvres provided at this time), followed by two panels; the first focused on healthcare reform and the second focused on long term services and supports reform.
You can RSVP to Anni Simons at email@example.com by Feb. 16th to assure your place. Walk-ins are also welcome. Please make any reasonable accommodation requests when you RSVP. For questions or more information, please visit www.mnccd.org or contact Anni Simons at 651 523 0823 ext. 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speakers for the evening:
Keynote Speaker - Jay Kiedrowski
Healthcare Reform Panel- Representative Tom Huntley (MN State Legislator), Roger Kathol, M.D., Jeff Schiff (MN Dept. of Human Services)
Long Term Care Reform Panel – Patti Cullen (Care Providers of MN), Loren Coleman (MN Department of Human Services), Kevin Goodno (Fredrickson and Byron), Anne Henry (MN Disability Law Center)
This discussion is sponsored by the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and is generously funded by a grant from the Minneapolis Foundation.
Welcome to the blogosphere home of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD). Supporting the MN-CCD’s mission we address public policy issues by collaborating, advocating, educating, influencing change and creating awareness for understanding. We are a a broad-based coalition of more than 100 organizations of persons with disabilities, providers and advocates, dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. We address public policy issues that affect people with disabilities by collaborating with others, advocating, educating, influencing change and creating awareness for understanding.
So please stop by, take a read, post some of your comments and thoughts, and use us as a resource of all your advocacy needs.