In this issue:
- Election News in Minnesota
- What does the passing of the infrastructure bill mean for Minnesota?
- Updates from Washington, D.C.
Election News in Minnesota
Ballot questions in Minneapolis:
Question 1: Should the city of Minneapolis have a “strong mayor” system?
- Results: 52% Yes. Minneapolis voters approved a “strong mayor” system. The approval of this vote allows for more concentrated power with the mayor over the city’s agencies.
Question 2: Should the Minneapolis Police Department be removed and replaced with a Department of Public Safety?
- Results: 56% No. The Minneapolis Police Department will remain the primary law enforcement across the city.
Question 3: Should the city of Minneapolis provide the City Council with the ability to control rent prices on private residential property?
- Results: 53% Yes. Though rent control has been approved by the voters in Minneapolis, this approval does not make clear what kind of policy will be passed. This means that Minneapolis voters approved the possibility of a rent control policy, but the city council and mayor are now responsible for creating an ordinance and putting it in place. However, they are not required to do so.
Ballot questions in St. Paul:
Question 1: Should the City adopt the proposed Ordinance limiting rent increases?
- Results: 53% Yes. This will be one of the strictest rent-control mandates in the country. The new rent control limits are said to be taken into effect in May 2022.
2022 Election News
Even though the 2021 election just happened, many are anticipating the upcoming 2022 election taking place next November. This election will challenge all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate. In Minnesota, all seats in the House and Senate are up for a vote as well as the governor, attorney general, and state auditor.
Incumbent Governor Tim Walz has announced he will pursue a second term. Along with Gov. Walz, a few others have announced candidacy seeking the governor’s seat.
- MN Senator Michelle Benson
- MN Senator Paul Gazelka
- Former MN Senator Scott Jensen
- Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy
- Neil Shah
- Mike Marti
Additionally, several Minnesota legislators have announced retirements at the end of the 2021-2022 biennium.
Legislative retirements at the end of the 2021-2022 biennium:
- Sen. Chris Eaton
- Sen. Susan Kent
- Sen. Jerry Newton
- Sen. Chuck Wiger
- Rep. Alice Hausman
- Rep. Ami Wazlawik
Current legislators seeking another office in 2022:
- Representatives John Poston and Tou Xiong have filed to run for the Minnesota Senate
- Rep. Ryan Winkler announced his intention to run for Hennepin County Attorney in 2022
- Senators Michelle Benson and Paul Gazelka have stated that they will not seek reelection for their current seats even if they do not win the Republican nomination for the gubernatorial election.
The 2022 election will take place on Nov. 8th, 2022. Learn more about election dates here.
Bipartisan infrastructure Bill
The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill last week and it was signed into law on Monday by President Joe Biden.
How does the infrastructure impact Minnesota?
- Highways: $4.5 billion
- Public transportation: $818 million
- Water Infrastructure: $680 million over five years
- Bridges: $302 million
- Broadband internet: $100 million
- Wildfire protection: $20 million
- Cybersecurity: $17 million
Updates from Washington, D.C.
From The Arc US:
Democrats Introduce House Version of the Build Back Better Act
Since the infrastructure bill passed in the Senate last week, the Biden administration is now pushing for the Build Back Better package. The plan includes $1.75 trillion for childcare, health care, climate change, etc.
How does the Build Back Better Act impact people with disabilities and their families?
Home and Community-Based Services
- $150 billion for home and community-based services (HCBS) to remove waiting lists for services and support pay for direct care workers
- A program to help people with disabilities who want to leave group homes and transition to live in their own home and community with supportive services
Education and Child Care
- $390 billion investment in universal pre-school
- $160 million investment in legislation that ensures students with disabilities are provided with free, appropriate, tailored education
- $25 million investment for health needs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- $150 billion investment in affordable housing supports. This includes funding for vouchers, rental assistance, and other public housing improvements
- The proposal also includes a $100 million investment in programs for people with disabilities and seniors. This investment will provide rental assistance to create more supportive housing
- 4 weeks of guaranteed paid and medical leave for all workers. This will help people with disabilities take time off for medical reasons and will help family members to provide care for a loved one without risk of losing their job
- Permanently expanding Medicaid eligibility to millions of Americans who previously fell within the Affordable Care Act coverage gap. Closing this coverage gap will allow up to 4 million uninsured Americans to gain access to coverage
- Expanding hearing benefits to the traditional Medicaid program
Other Disability Policy Proposals
- Disability employment supports. This includes funding for pre-apprenticeship programs and funding to businesses and organizations that are working to phase out programs that pay people with disabilities sub-minimum wage
- Administration for Community Living grants to help expand community mental and behavioral health programs
- Funding to upgrade the accessibility of public transportation services
The proposals explained above could change the lives of millions of people with disabilities and their families. For that to happen, Congress must pass the Build Back Better Act with these key disability policy priorities.