November 8, 2019: The Capitol Connector View in browser

November 8, 2019

In This Issue:

  • Issue Spotlight - Affordable Housing
  • Take the “Elected for Inclusion” Community Survey
  • Updates from Washington, D.C. 
  • Mark Your Calendars
  • Noteworthy News & Resources
Issue Spotlight

Affordable Housing

It may seem hard to believe, but the 2020 legislative session is just a few months away - starting on Tuesday, February 11! Our public policy team has been hard at work over the summer and fall to identify issues impacting Minnesotans with disabilities and their family members statewide. We want to make sure that our public policy priorities for the 2020 session focus on solutions to protect human and civil rights, help improve individuals’ lives, advance equity, and support true belonging in community.

Between now and the start of session, each issue of The Capitol Connector will highlight an item to be included in our legislative agenda. We’re calling it our “Issue Spotlight”, and today’s focus is affordable housing.

Affordable, accessible, inclusive housing options are critically important to ensure that individuals with disabilities develop true belonging in their communities, but we know that people are struggling to find housing statewide. This limits their choice, maintains reliance on more costly, less inclusive settings, and puts people at risk of homelessness.

Investing in affordable, accessible housing statewide can give more individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live in inclusive settings of their choice, which is why we’re supporting the Homes for All Coalition’s legislative effort to secure $500 million in bonds for housing.

Bonds are a type of funding specifically for infrastructure projects, such as building and improving housing to make sure it is affordable and accessible. Bonding will be a huge focus at the legislature during this upcoming session, and Homes for All is already working to make sure that key leaders prioritize bonds for housing.

You can help by contacting Governor Walz TODAY and asking him to include bonds for housing in his bonding proposal! Here’s the message that Homes for All is asking you to send:

“Hi, my name is [your name] and I live in [county or city]. I am calling as a member of Homes for All.

As you create your bonding package, please prioritize housing. More than half a million Minnesota families pay more than they can afford for homes, and that number is continuing to grow. That is one reason Homes for All is advocating for the housing continuum with our biggest bonding agenda yet -- $500Million in bonds for housing. Please be bold and support safe and quality housing with your bonding package.

Thank you!”

Share this message with the Governor by calling his office at 651.201.3400 or sending an email using the form at

You can stay connected with this effort throughout the upcoming session by “liking” the Homes for All Facebook page at

You can also follow along by using the hashtag #bonds4housing on Facebook and Twitter.

With questions or for more information about our support for Homes for All and their effort to secure bonds for affordable housing, contact Senior Advocate Gene Martinez at!

Community Survey

Take the “Elected for Inclusion” Community Survey!

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a national nonprofit organization focused on advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities, and this year they’ve partnered with REV UP Texas to host a non partisan Presidential forum - Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues - on January 13, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

The purpose of this forum is to address the issues that directly impact the disability community and provide a space for Presidential candidates to discuss their policy proposals.

Before the forum, AAPD would like to gain your insight on questions that should be asked to participating candidates! Complete this survey to let them know what matters to you! The survey will be open through November 30, 2019.

Updates from Washington, D.C.

From the Arc U.S.

Senate Committee Approves Life Respite Care Act Reauthorization

On October 31, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions approved the Lifespan Respite Care Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S.995). The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through grants to states, helps build coordinated state lifespan respite systems, helps family caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourages the development of new and innovative community and faith based respite opportunities, and trains respite workers and volunteers. The Arc supports this bill, which must next be approved by the full Senate.

Advocates Holds Congressional Briefing on DSP Workforce Crisis

On November 1, The Arc, as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, along with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, hosted a Congressional briefing titled "The Hidden Crisis of Care in the U.S. - Addressing the Homecare Workforce Shortage." Honorary co-hosts were the Task Force on Aging and Families and the Office of Representative Pramila Jayapal. The briefing covered the shortages in the direct care workforce and the need for investment at the federal level to address it. Read testimony from the briefing from Nicole Jorwic, The Arc's senior director for Public Policy, at

Representatives Reintroduce SSI Restoration Act

On October 30, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 9 co-sponsors reintroduced the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2019 (S.2753). The bill would update and enhance the SSI program by updating the general earned income disregard to $123 per month, updating the earned income disregard to $399 per month, and updating the resource limits to $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a couple. Congress has not adjusted these limits in many years. In addition, the SSI Restoration Act would repeal SSI's in-kind support and maintenance provisions as well as penalties for resource transfers, marriage, and state tax credits. The Arc strongly supports the SSI Restoration Act.

From the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) :

“The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public briefing on November 15, 2019, to examine the exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act - the section 14(c) waiver program - which permits employers to pay less than the minimum wage to individuals with disabilities.”

Improving Access to Higher Education Act introduced

“Improving Access to Higher Education Act of 2019 (H.R. 4643) was introduced by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) on October 11, 2019. This bill will improve college access and completion for all students with disabilities. The College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) was introduced on October 15, 2019, by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee. This bill is a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and also contains a number of provisions important to students with disabilities. Both bills include most of the Inclusive Higher Education Committee recommendations. The House Education and Labor Committee held a mark up of the College Affordability Act last week with no impact on the key provisions to the disability community. It passed committee and now heads to the House floor. It will likely pass by the end of the year but the prospect of a comprehensive HEA reauthorization remains uncertain in the Senate.

Census 2020

“The U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up for the 2020 Census. Recently released is their accessibility guide called "The 2020 Census is Accessible for Everyone." The Census Bureau says they are making sure that however people choose to respond - online, by phone or by mail - the census is accessible for everyone.

Read the new factsheet at And find resources about Census 2020 from our friends at NDRN at

Mark Your Calendars

Disability Advocacy Town Hall Forums


Thursday, November 14th, 5:30-7:30

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church - 1212 12th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Event information can be found here:

Noteworthy News & Resources

From Disability Scoop:

Trump Plan Would Weaken Disability Housing Protections, Advocates Say

Feds Working To Expand Transportation For Those With Special Needs

Future Uncertain For College Programs Serving Students With Disabilities

Senators Join Effort to Increase SSI Asset Limits

From Star Tribune:

System designed to streamline disability payments is riddled with problems

Met Council Chair Nora Slawik resigns

From AAPD:

Federal study finds nation's assisted suicide laws rife with dangers to people with disabilities.”

From the Coalition on Human Needs:

The latest CHN Human Needs Report: Spending updates, "Public Charge" rule blocked, Trump steps up attacks on food aid, and more

Thank you to our sponsor accra for their support of our public policy work


Join The Arc’s Disability Policy Networking Group to stay engaged on policy issues by requesting membership here. 

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The Arc Minnesota

2446 University Ave. W. Suite 110, St. Paul
Minnesota 55114-1740 United States

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