Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Commissioner Appearance Schedule at MCD Fair Booth

Posted on August 22nd, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Commissioner Appearance Schedule

Meet your State of Minnesota Commissioners at the Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD) State Fair Booth in the Education Building.

  • Thursday, August 24 from 9:00am to 1:00pm: Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, MN Department of Human Rights
  • Friday, August 25 from 10:30am to noon: Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, MN Department of Health
  • Sunday, August 27 from 11:30 to noon: Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly, MN Department of Revenue
  • Monday, August 28 from 9:30am to 10:30am: Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, MN Department of Education
  • Wednesday, August 30
    • 9:00am to noon: Commissioner Ken Peterson, Department of Labor and Industry
    • 9:00am to 1:00pm: Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, MN Department of Human Rights
    • 4:00pm to 5:00pm: Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Office of Higher Education
  • Friday, September 1
    • 9:00am to 1:00pm: Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, MN Department of Human Rights
    • 1:00pm to 3:00pm: Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Department of Natural Resources

Check our Facebook page for updates and photos! Visit our Events page for more information.

More than 80 area businesspeople attend talks on ADA compliance

Posted on August 21st, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Service for All: More than 80 area businesspeople attend talks on ADA compliance

Deb Gau
Staff Writer, Marshall Independent
dgau@marshallindependent.com
Aug. 3, 2017
Copyright © Marshall Independent. Reprinted with Permission.

David Fenley, with the Minnesota State Council on Disability, speaking to Marshall area businesspeople

Photo by Deb Gau. David Fenley, with the Minnesota State Council on Disability, spoke to Marshall area businesspeople on Tuesday on ADA compliance and accessibility for people with disabilities.

MARSHALL — Accessibility has become a hot topic in Minnesota — though not for entirely positive reasons. After a long string of lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act were filed against businesses across the state, many people are asking how to make their businesses accessible to customers with disabilities.

But speakers in Marshall on Tuesday reminded local businesspeople that accessibility isn’t just about keeping potential lawsuits away. It’s about equal rights.

It’s really about having the same level of service for everybody, David Fenley said during a talk with Marshall area businesspeople on Tuesday. It’s good business, and the right thing to do.

Fenley, an ADA/access coordinator with the Minnesota State Council on Disability, gave free presentations about accessibility and compliance with the ADA. Between two sessions, he spoke to more than 80 local businesspeople.

Fenley’s talk focused on what the ADA’s purpose was, and how to address some common barriers for accessibility at businesses. Making sure that people with disabilities have the same access to businesses and public accommodations as everyone else is simply a good plan, Fenley said. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, there are about 35 million people age 15 or older in the U.S. who have a disability that limits their movement. More than half of Americans age 65 and older have a disability.

Disability access came into the spotlight in Marshall in 2015, when a series of lawsuits alleging ADA violations were filed against several local businesses. Although the attorney involved with those cases has since had his law license suspended, more accessibility lawsuits have been filed by a different attorney.

Fenley acknowledged the concern over potential lawsuits. New Minnesota laws are aimed at stopping potential abuse of accessibility lawsuits under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Businesses must now be given 60 days to address an accessibility barrier before they can be sued in state court. However, that doesn’t protect businesses from federal lawsuits, Fenley said.

The best way to protect your business is to remove barriers (to accessibility), he said. Having a plan in place and chipping away at it is the best thing you can do.

The ADA requires businesses to remove accessibility barriers when it’s readily achievable to do so.

The English translation for ‘readily achievable’ is, cheap and easy, Fenley said. For example, he said, it might be very costly and difficult for a small shop with two stories to build an elevator. But the business could still be accessible by having a catalog of items on the upper floor, or online shopping that anyone can access.

Some important ways to be accessible include having disability parking, accessible restrooms, and doors and aisles wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through, Fenley said.

There can be some confusion for businesses on what standards to meet to be accessible, Fenley said. ADA requirements, building codes, and the requirements of the Minnesota Human Rights Act are all separate things — having a building inspector’s approval isn’t a guarantee of ADA compliance. Fenley suggested that business owners look at Minnesota’s state accessibility code, as it often goes above and beyond ADA requirements.

There is no grandfather provision to the ADA that would allow businesses to avoid complying, he said. However, there is a Safe Harbor provision, that protects businesses if they comply with ADA guidelines and the requirements are later made stricter.

You have an ongoing obligation to remove barriers under the ADA, Fenley said. When the act was passed, he said, The idea was, you’d be chipping away at this.

There are federal tax credits and other resources available for businesses trying to make access improvements. Fenley said one progressive step the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce took was offering matching grants for businesses to make accessibility improvements.

Fenley said a silver lining in the response to all the accessibility lawsuits is increased awareness of problems with accessibility in Minnesota. It’s a frustrating issue for many people, he said.

On one hand, People don’t want to discriminate, he said. Many businesses are just unaware of accessibility barriers. But on the other hand, It has been 27 years since the ADA was passed — a long time to put some improvements in place, he said.

The response to the lawsuits, and the new state laws, have also given the MSCOD more of a chance to work with businesses and chambers of commerce to address disability issues, Fenley said. That deepening relationship is the beginning of finding solutions, he said.

Source: Service for all – Marshall Independent (http://www.marshallindependent.com/news/local-news/2017/08/service-for-all/)

The Minnesota Council on Disability Has a New Look!

Posted on August 18th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

We are pleased to announce that the Minnesota Council on Disability has a new look (and a new name). This is part of a multi-agency rebranding effort to create a more unified look across state government.

Over the next couple of months, all of our agency communications will be updated to reflect these design changes. Although you’ll start to see different logos, document templates, and email signatures, our commitment to customer service and Minnesota’s disability community won’t change.

An example of our new logo follows.

Minnesota Council on Disability logo

2017 Minnesota State Fair

Posted on August 14th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Minnesota State Fair logo

The Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD) is busy getting ready for the great Minnesota get-together. Come see us in the Education Building on Cosgrove and Dan Patch Ave! The Minnesota Council on Disability exhibit booth will be open from 9:00am to 9:00pm every day during the Fair.

  • Pick up your Go Bag
  • Meet State Commissioners

Refer to the Minnesota State Fair page for more visitor information, including accessibility information.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter Schedule

  • Friday, August 25, 5 to 9pm
  • Saturday, August 26, 1 to 9pm
  • Sunday, August 27, 1 to 9pm
  • Monday, August 28, 1 to 9pm
  • Tuesday, August 29, 1 to 9pm
  • Wednesday, August 30, 5 to 9pm
  • Friday, September 1, 5 to 9pm
  • Saturday, September 2, 1 to 9pm
  • Sunday, September 3, 1 to 9pm
  • Monday, September 4, 1 to 9pm

Refer to our Events page for continuing updates.

Is Your Website Susceptible To ADA Title III Challenges?

Posted on July 11th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

From the article:

A federal court in Florida issued a potentially groundbreaking decision earlier this week that could open the floodgates when it comes to a new trend in litigation filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): the “surf-by” lawsuit. While businesses have been forced to deal with so-called drive-by lawsuits for some time now – those claims filed by plaintiffs who spot technical ADA violations such as inaccessible entrances by simply driving down the street – recent years have seen an explosion when it comes to the digital equivalent of such suits. Surf-by lawsuits, on the other hand, are initiated when someone simply logs onto your company’s website to search for possible accessibility violations, and if any are found, follows through by filing an ADA lawsuit against you, sometimes without prior warning.

Read the entire article: Federal Court Decision Approves New Class Of “Surf-By” Lawsuits

Cuts in federal health care funding will be felt across Minnesota

Posted on July 5th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

The U.S. Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act puts comprehensive health care for 1.2 million Minnesotans at risk by cutting federal funds for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare by billions of dollars over the coming years.

Who will be affected? Minnesota children, seniors, people with disabilities and those in need of chemical and mental health services.

We will share new information about the Senate bill and its progress in the coming days.

Our updated analysis (PDF)  of the House bill.

Host a screening in your community of “Our Rights: Justice for All”

Posted on July 5th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Start a conversation in your community about human rights by hosting a screening of the MDHR and TPT co-production “Our Rights: Justice for All”.  MDHR is offering opportunities for screenings of the program in Minnesota communities. Screening events provide the opportunity to start conversations about the progress Minnesota has made in furthering human rights for all, while recognizing the challenges that remain.

“In the screenings that MDHR has hosted, the dialog was inspirational and sobering at times, and yet, it left people with hope for the opportunities that are before us,” Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said. “We welcome the opportunity to co-host screenings in your community and continues the work of building a more perfect union for all people in our society.”

Currently, community events are being coordinated including a screening in Mankato. Register for more details on the MDHR & Greater Mankato Diversity Council’s Screening of “Our Rights: Justice for All.”

MDHR will offer a toolkit for local organizations to host their own screening later this summer. More details on these screenings will follow in the coming weeks.

Contact MDHR’s Communications team at Jonathan.Wong@state.mn.us or call 320.407.8285 for more information on this opportunity.

MDHR and TPT co-produce three-part series

Posted on July 5th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Series explores history, transformation and future of human rights in Minnesota

In honor of the Minnesota Department of Human Right’s 50th anniversary, the Department and Twin Cities Public Television co-produced a three-part series that explores the history, transformation, and future of human rights in Minnesota.

The first episode, “Our Rights: Justice for All” provides an in-depth history of MDHR over the past 50 years. The next episode, “Our Rights: Raising the Stakes,” examines the transformation of Affirmative Action to Diversity and Inclusion. Lastly, “Our Rights: Building on the Promise” addresses the future of human rights and the role of MDHR in building a better future for all Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder wrote an article on the collaboration. Read the article.

Broadcast Schedule:

“Our Rights: Justice for All”

Sunday, July 2 at 1 p.m.
Channel: tptMN

Sunday, July 9 at noon
Channel: tptLIFE

“Our Rights: Raising the Stakes”

Sunday, July 30 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 6 at 1 p.m.
Channel: tptMN

“Our Rights: Building on the Promise”

Sunday, August 27 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 3 at 1 p.m.
Channel: tptMN

2017 Council Appoinments

Posted on June 30th, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

The following appointments have been made, we are pleased welcome the following members:

Katherine MacDonald – Rochester, MN
Council on Disability
Member
Effective: July 3, 2017
Term Expires: January 6, 2020
Replacing: David Schwartzkopf

Joshua Melvin – Stillwater, MN
Council on Disability
Member
Effective: July 3, 2017
Term Expires: January 6, 2020
Replacing: Carlos Vasquez

Quinn Nystrom – Baxter, MN
Council on Disability
Member
Effective: July 3, 2017
Term Expires: January 6, 2020
Replacing: Nancy Rosemore

Kathleen Peterson – Warren, MN
Council on Disability
Member
Effective: July 3, 2017
Term Expires: January 6, 2020
Reappointment

Disability Rights March & Rally!

Posted on June 2nd, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized

Join us in celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act and reaffirming our Rights!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
1:00 – 4:00 pm

Come for some or all of the events

  • 1:00: Gathering & orientation at the MN History Center
  • 1:30: Disability Rights March to the Capitol
  • 2:30: Disability Rights Rally in the Capitol Rotunda
  • Featured speakers and entertainment

Accommodations for the orientation and rally include ASL interpreters, CART, and audio description.

For more information or to confirm audio description services or to request a reasonable accommodation not listed above, please contact Cindy at ADA Minnesota, 651-603-2015 or email cindyt@mcil-mn.org, by July 7, 2017.

Use this link for a printable flier: Disability Rights March (PDF)