1. Minnesota Council on Disability Budget
With the decrease in state revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, the Minnesota state government faces a potential budget deficit of $1.27 billion for fiscal year FY22-23. The state legislature may call for across the board cuts to state agency budgets to close the budget gap. Operating on a small budget already, it will be critical to watch for potential cuts in the MCD budget and work with legislators to preserve, if not expand, the budget of the Minnesota Council on Disability.
2. Interagency Budgets and disability services
In addition to preserving the MCD budget, MCD legislative priorities also include preserving the budgets of other state agencies and programs that serve the disability community.
3. Interactive Process amendment – Minnesota Human Rights Act
The Minnesota Human Rights Act should be updated to be in line with the ADA, particularly regarding the Interactive Process that requires employers to work with a person with a disability who is seeking workplace accommodations. Currently, the MN Human Rights Act does not have any guidelines on the interactive process, which means that the state (including MCD) cannot assist and provide guidance to businesses and other employers in ensuring ADA workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities. We want to expand employment opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities and help their employers retain them in Minnesota’s workforce.
4. Restoring Community Access to the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Program Bill
People who receive PCA services are currently not permitted to have their PCAs drive them as part of their service plan. This is most needed when a client owns an adapted vehicle but needs someone to drive it. The bill would amend the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) in the PCA program to include the transportation of clients. In many cases, especially in Greater Minnesota, there are no alternatives if clients cannot drive themselves to and from work, school, a volunteer job, the store, or anywhere else. This is even more critical now because of the pandemic. Clients may need their PCA to drive them to get tested or for the vaccine.
5. Out-of-Network coverage for diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases
Under most Minnesota-based health insurance policies, Minnesotans with rare diseases must first see doctors and specialists within their insurance network before being referred to see an out-of-network specialist. Due to the nature of rare diseases, few doctors may be aware of the disease, much less able to treat the condition. Updating Minnesota law to require health insurance plans to allow people with rare diseases to see specialists directly, regardless if they are in-network or not, would save time and reduce the financial burden on the person with the rare disease.
6. Rare Disease Advisory Council Amendment
The Rare Disease Advisory Council was established by state law in 2019 and is facilitated by the University of Minnesota. The amendment would add clarifying language to allow the RDAC to consult with the legislature and take policy positions.
7. Website Accessibility Grants Program
Establishes Website Accessibility Grant Advisory Council which the Minnesota Council on Disability administers, and money appropriated for grants to cities and counties to improve website accessibility.
8. Disability Employment Task Force Report
The Advisory Task Force on State Employment and Retention of Employees with Disabilities (hereafter known as “the task force”) was created by the 2019 Minnesota Legislature and charged with submitting a report on attracting and retaining state employees with disabilities, including proposed legislation. The legislation limited the task force’s scope to recommendations regarding the hiring and retaining of employees with disabilities.
The task force recommends specific revisions to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 43A, which governs the hiring and retention of employees. Implementing these recommendations will demonstrate the State of Minnesota’s commitment to hiring, retaining, and advancing people with disabilities by modernizing outdated and potentially discriminatory language, creating more clarity and consistency, and adding capacity for essential equity work.
9. New or evolving policies and/or legislation regarding disability community
In addition to the legislative priorities above, MCD will also monitor and respond to any legislation or policy that affects the disability community and the organizations that support them.