The efforts of MCD and coalition partners in the second week and upcoming weeks of session are focused on meeting committee deadlines. What does that mean? Essentially, individual bills (excluding bonding proposals) must be heard in a committee in either the House or the Senate to be considered in the end of the session. The first deadline for bills to be heard in either chamber is on March 20.
The Council’s Policy Priorities are humming along nicely. Of the Council’s 6 bills, 2 have already been heard in committee. On the Senate side, SF2715, a bill to include transportation as a reimbursable activity under the PCA program, was heard in the Human Services Reform Finance and Policy committee. MCD Councilmember and independent living advocate Ted Stamp came from Marshall, MN to testify in support of this bill. He shared his story about what it means to rely on someone else for your transportation needs, and how much his life would change if his PCA could drive him around his community.
On the House side, HF1152, a bill that will permit voters with disabilities to receive an accessible, electronic version of their absentee ballot, was heard in both the Elections subcommittee and the Government Operations committee. The bill was passed through committee and sent to the General Register. MCD will be encouraging the Senate committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections to hear this bill.
Upcoming: This Tuesday, February 25th from 9-12 is Disability Advocacy Day at the Capitol! This day is to discuss issues impacting individuals with disabilities, their families, and support professionals. It is also an opportunity for you to share your personal story with state Senators and Representatives. Disability Advocacy Day at the Capitol is a day to participate in legislative and grassroots advocacy through rally attendance, meeting with elected officials, and personal storytelling.
Action item: Call or email the leadership of the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. Ask Senator Mary Kiffmeyer and Senator Mark Koran to give a hearing to SF562, a bill that will permit voters with disabilities to receive an accessible, electronic version of their absentee ballot.