As the Legislature rolls into packaging and hearing omnibus bills, the Council on Disability would like to share progress made in the legislative session thus far.
Minnesota Council on Disability Operating Budget
The 2019 operating budget from MCD requests a modest $154k increase to the agency’s annual budget for rising operational and IT expenses. MCD’s full budget request was included in both the Governor’s HHS budget as well as the House HHS budget (HF2184). MCD thanks both governing bodies and urges the Senate to do the same.
Minnesota Council on Disability Legacy Proposal
The Minnesota Council on Disability presents a Legacy funding proposal in order to capture our legacy of Minnesotans with disabilities, celebrate our progress, and secure our future for all. The Council thanks Chair Leon Lillie and the House Legacy committee for hearing HF1337, our Legacy funding proposal. MCD also thanks Chair Ruud and the Senate Legacy committee for the upcoming hearing for the companion bill, SF1417. The Council urges both the House and Senate to include the proposal in the larger Legacy bill.
MCD expresses its gratitude to Governor Walz’s administration for including $19.5 million to work towards making state parks accessible for people with disabilities. As the House Capitol Investment committee has heard the Governor’s bonding proposal, so too do we urge the Senate to do the same.
Accessibility of Public Buildings
MCD thanks Senator Draheim and Representative Mahoney in chief authoring HF772/SF937 to update outdated language in Minnesota’s building code in regards to the accessibility of public buildings. The Senate has passed SF937, the House has added HF772 to its Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus bill. Once passed through the House, MCD urges the Senate to adopt the updated language out of the House.
Accessibility of Assisted Living Facilities
The Council thanks Representative Schultz and Senator Housely for their critical work on legislation related to assisted living facilities and elder care. The Council will collaborate with the MN Department of Health to implement high accessibility standards in the rulemaking process, once initiated.
Accessibility of the Capitol Complex Tunnel System
Representative Rod Hamilton understands the challenge of navigating the Capitol Complex tunnel system that people with disabilities have. He is in a wheelchair and climbs the steep tunnel between the State Office Building and the Capitol every day. He and Senator Koran introduced a bill that would fund an effort to improve the tunnel to be ADA compliant (HF2660/SF2618). MCD thanks the Capitol Investment committee for hearing the bill and urges the Senate to do the same.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Policy
MCD has been a strong supporter of authorizing the testing of autonomous vehicles on Minnesota roads and has provided testimony on both House and Senate bills to do so. MCD supports the passage of HF1996 and SF2173 to accelerate the testing and adoption of autonomous vehicle technology.
PCA Driving Reimbursement
The Council thanks Representative Mann and Senator Matthews for authoring HF2536/SF2715, which would expand reimbursable driving activities for PCAs in order to ensure the implementation of a person with disability’s service plan. MCD urges the passage of this bill.
Voters with Disabilities
The Minnesota Council on Disability thanks the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Steve Simon and legislators on the several bills to improve the experience for voters with disabilities. These bills are: HF1152, HF1098, HF94, HF1372, and HF14.
ADA Notice to Businesses Working Group
The Council supports HF803/SF806, which convenes stakeholders to develop a report of recommendations regarding providing businesses notice of potential barrier violations. The bill has been heard in the House Government Operations committee and must be heard in the Senate.
Website Accessibility Grants
MCD thanks advocate Noah McCourt, Representative Elkins, and Senator Dziedzic for their work on HF1358/SF1058 to create website accessibility grants for cities and counties. MCD urges the passage of the bill.
Legislative Digital Accessibility Working Group
MCD applauds the Minnesota Commission for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing for their work on HF1962/SF1727 which would convene a working group to establish digital accessibility standards for the MN Legislature.
Employees with Disabilities Workgroup
MCD thanks the Minnesota Commission for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing for its work on HF1968/SF2004 to establish a working group to analyze best practices for hiring and retaining state employees with disabilities.
In the final 6 weeks of the Minnesota Legislative session, the Minnesota Council on Disability thanks all partners and stakeholders for collaborative work achieved. The Council remains optimistic and urges support in finalizing its public policy agenda for the 2019 Legislative Session.
The Minnesota Council on Disability exists to serve people with disabilities in Minnesota through development of effective policy, training, technical resources and collaborations with public and private stakeholders. Any policy inquires can be directed to Public Policy Director Kody Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.