This is the last newsletter of 2021. Thank you for subscribing and following along this year. More newsletters to come in 2022!
Updates in Minnesota
From Minnesota Budget Project:
Minnesota Budget and Economic Forecast
The state of Minnesota’s budget forecast announced earlier this week showed a large, unprecedented projected surplus of $7.7 billion for the current two-year budget cycle. The projections also show a positive structural balance of $6 billion in the next biennium, although that number drops to $4.8 billion when inflation is included.
Tell Your Senators: Pass the Build Back Better Act
The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Build Back Better Act, and now it’s time for the Senate to act so this bill can be signed into law!
The Build Back Better Act would improve the quality of life for millions of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce. It would:
Expand access to Medicaid home and community-based services for people with disabilities on waiting lists and address the direct care workforce crisis, including raising wages.
Create a national paid leave program. The pandemic forced millions of people to choose between their own health, the health of their families, and their livelihood. We must invest in our care infrastructure and pass a national paid leave program that guarantees paid leave to family caregivers.
Improve and expand the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The lowest income people with disabilities who rely on SSI still receive extremely limited benefits and are limited in how much they can save for emergencies. Congress must expand SSI and include improvements to the program to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.
“In order for technology to create potential for equitable opportunity and improved quality of life for disabled people, technology policy must seek to understand, and meaningfully center, the disability experience,” said Maria Town, President and CEO of AAPD. “Disability organizations and public interest technology groups working together to build shared expertise is vital to achieving this goal.”
Alexandra Reeve Givens, President and CEO of CDT, said, “We are at an important inflection point understanding the impact technology has on society – from limiting people’s privacy, to how they access information, to how inferences made about them may impact their ability to get credit, housing, or a job. The active public debate about technology must do a better job addressing the perspectives of people with disabilities. Our report highlights the opportunities for engagement, and the important work to be done.”
The report makes a number of recommendations for tech organizations, public interest groups, or anyone with an interest in using technology to meaningfully improve peoples’ lives. It covers a wide range of topics, including digital accessibility practices, equitable employment and education access, data privacy, online hate and harassment, law enforcement surveillance, algorithmic bias, and more.
The event will be held over Zoom and will publish the link as the date nears
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.
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.
Noteworthy News & Resources
From Minnesota Management and Budget:
The Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) and other State Agencies are getting ready to update the Olmstead Plan. To help us figure out what needs to change and what should stay the same, we’re asking people to share their thoughts on how the Minnesota Olmstead Plan is going.
Your survey answers will help State Agencies understand how to improve the MN Olmstead Plan. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.
OIO hired the consulting group Management Analysis and Development (MAD) to administer the survey and analyze the results. MAD provides consulting services for the public sector. Only MAD, and not OIO, will know whether you took the survey and what you answered.
Please take this survey on the Olmstead Plan by Friday, December 31.
Minnesota Council on Disability is looking for people to serve on the Council.
We, along with the rest of the State of Minnesota, actively seek people with disabilities to serve on boards, councils, and commissions. The lived experience, wisdom, and knowledge of people with disabilities must be front and center when shaping policies, drafting budgets, or shaping programs that impact our communities.
Serving on one of these councils could contribute to your personal and professional growth and expand your network. Most of all, your voice, experience, and advocacy matter! You can help shape a more equitable future for all Minnesotans!
MPR’s Peter Cox reported St. Paul and Ramsey County are jointly putting nearly $75 million toward affordable housing in St. Paul and the county. City and county leaders say the money will help expand affordable housing in the county by creating up to 1,000 permanent units in St. Paul at 30 percent of the area median income, which means for someone making about $34,000 per year.
"We're short about 15,000 units of affordable housing today in Ramsey County and so this funding will go directly to creating new affordable housing,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Matas Castillo. “And we've dedicated these funds not just for housing in general, but specifically at that 30 percent AMI which is what our biggest need is for our population.”
The hope is that the money will help to push projects forward and create new housing in the next two to five years.