The 2021 Legislative Session begins on January 5th and ends on May 17th. Follow the Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD) legislative initiatives at the State Capitol through weekly updates from Public Policy Director Trevor Turner.
Notice: Due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Legislature is operating differently. The Minnesota Council on Disability will post legislative updates as timely as possible.
Public policy inquiries can be directed to Trevor Turner at Trevor.Turner@state.mn.us or 651-350-8642.
On this page:
February 22, 2021
Do you or someone you know utilize the Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program? Have you faced transportation challenges because your PCA cannot transport you to medical appointments, errands, or a COVID-19 vaccination site? Call your state senator and ask them to support SF 984: Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program!
On Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021, at 1:00 pm, the Minnesota Senate Human Services Reform Finance & Policy committee will be hearing testimony on SF 984, authored by Senator Andrew Mathews (district 15) and Senator Carla Nelson (district 26).
SF 984: Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program would amend state statute 2020, section 256B to allow PCAs to drive their clients to appointments and errands. This amendment will streamline transportation for people with disabilities that use the PCA program and provide more transportation options, especially in Greater Minnesota, where transportation options are limited.
To learn more about SF 984, please read MCD’s policy memo, Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program.
To find out who your senator is and how to contact them:
- Visit Who represents me?
- Enter your address to bring up all of your local and national representatives.
- Select your State Senator to find out their phone number and email.
We must pass SF 984 so that people with disabilities can work with their PCAs to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and have access to critical services.
Sample Message to Your Legislator
Dear Senator [Name],
I am your constituent, and I would like to ask you to support SF 984 – Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program to ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities have reliable transportation options and can travel with their trusted PCA to medical appointments, errands, community events, and to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please contact your colleagues in the MN Senate Human Services Reform Finance & Policy committee and tell them to vote to pass SF 984 through the committee.
Thank you for supporting the disability community in Minnesota.
[street address – to show that you are their constituent]
[city, state, zip]
People who receive PCA services are currently not permitted to have their PCAs drive them as part of their service plan. This service is most needed when a client owns an adapted vehicle but needs someone to drive it. There are waivers – similar to the PCA service – that allow the Direct Support Staff to drive the service recipient. However, this at a higher cost to the state.
SF 984 would amend the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) in the PCA program to include transportation of clients. IADLs, do not add time to the assessment. Passage of the bill would mean that PCAs/caregivers of Minnesotans with disabilities would be permitted to drive the service recipient, using their already authorized service units, in either their own or their client’s vehicle.
This amendment would provide a significant amount of flexibility in getting disabled Minnesotans to and from their appointments using resources already allocated to them, avoiding the need for more costly services. In many cases, especially in Greater Minnesota, there are no transportation alternatives if clients cannot drive themselves to and from work, school, a volunteer job, the store, or anywhere else. This change is critical during the pandemic, as clients may need to get tested or get the vaccine.
Lack of dependable transportation is the most cited cause of disability unemployment. Transportation is critical to civic engagement, full participation in the community, and advancing the principles of the Olmstead Act.
SF 984 is a 2021 policy priority for the Minnesota Council on Disability; we actively encourage the disability community in Minnesota to contact their legislators and ensure they pass the Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program bill this legislative session.
February 10, 2021
For this Legislative Update, we invite you to read the updated 2021 Legislative Agenda.
January 26, 2021
My name is Trevor Turner; I am the new public policy director at MCD.
We have been working hard having one-on-one meetings with legislators, disability community advocates, public-private partners, and other state agencies. As I am new to the Council, and as the Council is under new leadership, building and strengthening these relationships is something we want to focus on.
We are working on many legislative initiatives, including:
- the PCA driving bill,
- funding grants for local governments to make their websites accessible,
- better insurance access for Minnesotans with rare diseases,
- and the workplace accommodation amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
For more information on our legislative priorities, here is our legislative agenda for 2021.
The 2021 legislative session started in early January. The state of Minnesota is projected to have a budget deficit, which makes for some challenges. As you learned during our policy forum, one of our primary goals is to protect the funding and services for Minnesotans with disabilities. This is topical, as the Governor has just released his budget proposal and begun the spirited debate on the budget for the upcoming fiscal years.
Also, the House restructured its committees this year. This means the first several weeks have been spent having reviews, reports, overviews, and orientations to new committee members so they can be prepared to hear different bills for the next several months.
As the session moves forward, we will give you Senate File and House File numbers and update you on each bill’s progress. For now, we are working with chief authors, having meetings, monitoring bill introductions, and watching hearings.
Please reach out to me if you want me to work with you to find your legislator, learn how to make an appointment with them, and learn how to tell them your story. You all, as constituents, have the attention of our legislators.
Trevor Turner, Public Policy Director