In this issue:
- 2022 Minnesota Legislative Session
- Updates from Washington, D.C.
- Mark Your Calendars
- Noteworthy News & Resources
2022 Minnesota Legislative Session
The Minnesota legislative session begins on Monday, January 31st. The Arc’s Public Policy team is hard at work preparing for the upcoming session. At this time, we hope to create real and lasting change. This article will outline the Arc’s public policy goals for this year.
The Arc Minnesota’s 2022 Legislative Agenda
Create More Inclusive Playgrounds for Minnesota Children
Most playgrounds in Minnesota are not accessible or safe for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities should have access to safe playgrounds in their communities without safety being an issue. Playgrounds that are inclusive means that no one is left out and all children are able to play safely together.
- This policy will help build safe and inclusive playgrounds across Minnesota. Inclusive playgrounds will result in long-term, positive benefits for all children.
- This will also help children with disabilities foster true belonging in community from an early age.
End Suspensions and Expulsions for Young Learners
Suspensions and expulsions contribute to poor student outcomes. Research shows this sort of punishment especially impacts students of color and students with disabilities. All children deserve to learn in an inclusive environment that supports them, without fear of discrimination and harm.
- This policy will help create equitable, accessible, and safe schools.
- All students will benefit from positive learning environments that fully include all students and supports their needs.
- This policy will also will help promote alternatives that create a supportive and positive climate for all students and school staff.
Expand Access to Inclusive Higher Education Statewide
Attending college makes it so that students with intellectual disabilities (ID) are much more likely to gain jobs and rely less on government programs and services. However, in-state college options for students with intellectual disabilities are very rare. Many colleges do not have the resources to enroll students with intellectual disabilities.
Expanding access to inclusive higher education will help more young adults with intellectual disabilities earn meaningful education, gain employment, and have their own independence.
Providing technical assistance and funding to colleges can help advance access to college education in Minnesota for all students.
Reform Medical Assistance to Incentivize Employment
Some Minnesotans with disabilities have been able to maintain safety-net supports while working through Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD). However, this medical assistance contributes to people remaining in poverty and creates disincentives to work. People who have disabilities should be able to earn money and invest in their futures without fear of losing health care, benefits or supports.
- This policy will remove barriers to building and maintaining financial stability and help people with disabilities to get out of poverty.
- This will impact all of society, because once all people are able to earn money and financially prosper, everyone will benefit.
Increase Affordable, Accessible Housing Options
For many people with disabilities, finding affordable and accessible housing in their communities is nearly impossible. Many are forced to turn to costly and isolating settings, instead of living in homes of their own. Housing developers and builders need more guidelines as to what is actually accessible. They also need financial support to ensure they can include physically and sensory accessible dwellings in housing projects.
- Creating a shared definition of accessible housing will provide clarity for developers, builders, and people with disabilities.
- More affordable, accessible housing for Minnesotans with disabilities will support their choice and reduce dependence on provider-controlled settings.
Help More Minnesotans with Disabilities Live in Homes of their Own
- Strategic policy change can help more Minnesotans with disabilities live in homes of their own.
- We must address gaps in support and service arrangements, prevent evictions, and stabilize housing for those with low incomes.
We will provide important updates and action alerts in the coming months. You can review our 2022 legislative agenda on our website (LINK).
If you would like to get involved and support our advocacy work, check out our Capitol Connectors teams (link to Capitol Connectors teams info) You can also email our Legislative Advocacy Coordinator, Gene Martinez at email@example.com.
If you have any questions about our public policy work, you can contact our Public Policy Director, Julia Burkstaller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates from Washington, D.C.
From the Arc US:
The Arc Participates in Child Care Rally at U.S. Capitol
On December 14, The Arc joined in a Child Care for Every Family Rally at the Capitol. This rally was meant to support the passing of the Build Back Better Act. The Arc hopes that Build Back Better Act will make sure that every child has access to high-quality childcare and that child care providers can earn a living wage.
You can watch a recording of the rally here.
Mark Your Calendars
Self-Advocate Advisory Committee (SAAC) Meeting
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Presented by: The Arc Minnesota
Link to Zoom call can be found here.
Self-advocacy is using your power to advocate for yourself and to educate others to do the same. If you want to grow as a self-advocate, The Arc Minnesota can help.
Minnesota Council on Disability 2022 Virtual Legislative Forum
Thursday, January 13, 2022
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Presented by: Minnesota Council on Disability
Zoom link can be found here
The MCD 2022 Virtual Legislative Forum is an opportunity for the disability community to share what they want the Legislature to accomplish in this session. It is also an opportunity for legislators to share how they plan to promote this legislative agenda.
Share your ideas and concerns with state Senators and members of the state House of Representatives who are committed to disability rights and inclusion.
We will provide CART and ASL. Contact Trevor Turner at 651-350-8642 (phone or text message) or email Trevor to request additional accommodations. We will do our best to accommodate all requests, even with short notice.
Webinar: The landscape of Telehealth in Minnesota for disability and behavioral health services
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Presented by: Minnesota Department of Human Services
You’re invited to attend a webinar about telehealth for disability and behavioral health services on Jan. 18, 2022. This webinar will be hosted by DHS, University of Minnesota TeleOutreach Center and Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center.
In this webinar, we will:
- Describe the current status of telehealth use in disability services and behavioral health services, including what utilization trends have occurred
- Discuss current research findings related to telehealth in these fields
- Share tips and ideas for service providers
- Discuss anticipated future directions for the use of telehealth in Minnesota.
Minnesota Housing Partnership Legislative Panel
Thursday, January 27, 2022
8:00 am – 9:15 am
Presented by: Minnesota Housing Partnership
The event will be held over Zoom and MHP will publish the link as the date nears.
In advance of the 2022 Legislative Session, join the MHP Investors Council as lawmakers discuss prospects for housing in the 2022 legislative session. Hear directly from lawmakers about their caucus, committee, and personal priorities and how housing fits into their overall session goals.