This week’s Legislative Update comes from MCD Executive Director Joan Willshire:
This week at the Capitol was the first hearing of the Connected and Automated Vehicle bill, Senate File 7123, that establishes testing for CAV in Minnesota. The bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee. The author of the bill, Senator Newman, proposed an amendment to the bill, which stated all pilot testing was to be conducted on private property only and could not be conducted on public roads. Also, a fee would be charged for that usage. The Minnesota Department of Transportation had many concerns about this approach, and the bill was tabled by the author.
The disability community would not support that type of fee, and we are very concerned that the bill was tabled by the author. The Minnesota Council on Disability is still hopeful that the bill can be re-energized and will get moving again. We believe the self driving car is one of the best transit opportunities for the disability community, enabling its members to live, work, and play in the community of their choice.
Two of our own Council members testified on two different bills this week. Council member Quinn Nystrom testified on the insulin bill. She told her story about having diabetes and needing to be able to have access to insulin. Council member Lauren Thompson testified how the shortage of PCAs is negatively affecting her life.
Both did a fabulous job getting their issues across to the Legislature.
The deadline to advance major bills in its house of origin was Friday, March 15. Major appropriation bills are exempt from this deadline. March 29 is the next deadline for bills to advance in the other chamber.