Trevor Turner: Hello, everyone. This is the Minnesota Council on Disability Legislative Update. My name is Trevor Turner, and I’m the Public Policy Director for the Minnesota Council on Disability.
So we are halfway through the 2021 legislative session, which means we’ve passed the first and second deadlines for bills to be heard in either committee in the House and the senate. This means that only bills that have been heard in the House and the senate in their respective committees are allowed to move forward to be considered into passage for law.
One bill, which Minnesota Council on Disability considers a legislative priority, is the Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program. What this bill does is it – it changes state statute to allow PCAs, Personal Care Assistants, to drive their clients or people with disabilities, to errands, to doctor’s appointments, to get the COVID-19 vaccine, etc. As of right now, state statute does not allow PCAs to drive their client, and we think that this is a common-sense policy solution to this problem, and this is on two different bills.
One is House File 14431, authored by Representative Frederick of Mankato, Minnesota and Senate File 984, authored by Senator Matthews of Princeton, Minnesota. So we encourage everyone to continue supporting this bill and to write your legislators to support this bill and – this common-sense bipartisan bill.
Our next bill that we are in consideration for is the Interactive Process Amendment for the Disability Workplace Accommodation. This bill is House File 2010, authored by Representative Reyer from Eagan, Minnesota and Senate File 1939 by Senator Abeler of Anoka, Minnesota.
What this bill does is also a policy change. It updates state statute to be in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act in regard to the interactive process. This is just a conversation between employers and employees with disabilities in regards to the workplace accommodation for disabilities.
Right now the state of Minnesota has no language referring to the interactive process. It means that the state cannot help or provide any guidance to employers or employees with disabilities. Only the federal government is able to provide this guidance or do any kind of litigation to solve any kind of workplace accommodation disputes. We think that Minnesota knows its people, knows its employers and people with disabilities best. So we think we would like to be the first stop in the workplace accommodation process.
So please support this bill and ask your senators and representatives to consider this bill for passage in the law.
And finally, the Governor has released its revised COVID-19 recovery budget last Thursday, March 18th. This included updates to the original budget update, which now includes disability-related reforms, such as the PCA reform bills. The Governor will be answering questions with the Lieutenant Governor for the disability community in regards to this recovery budget on Thursday, March 25th at 4:30 pm. If you would like to be involved and learn more about this event, go to the Minnesota Council on Disability website at disability.state.mn.us to learn more and to get the Zoom link in order to attend.
That’s it for this week. Have a great week, everyone.