February 7, 2020: The Capitol Connector View in browser

February 7, 2020

In This Issue:

  • Tools & Resources to Help You Advocate this Session
  • Register for 2020 Disability Advocacy Day at the Capitol 
  • Updates from Washington, D.C. 
  • Mark Your Calendars
  • Noteworthy News & Resources
Tools & Resources to Help You Advocate this Session

The 2020 legislative session is just around the corner - starting next Tuesday, February 11! The Arc Minnesota depends on advocates like you to help advance our policy goals at the Minnesota State Capitol because people with disabilities and their families are critical in helping elected officials understand how their decisions about policy and funding affect our community.

To help you get informed and engaged in public policy advocacy, we’ve created a “2020 Legislative Session” page on our website: arcminnesota.org/2020-legislative-session

There, you can use a district finder and learn who represents you in the Minnesota State House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate, get connected to the Minnesota Legislature’s website, and learn more about our policy goals for the 2020 session.

Keep checking this page often, as we’ll update it regularly with fact sheets, bill numbers, bill authors/legislative champions, and much more.

One of the most impactful ways to help advance shared policy goals this session is by sharing your personal story, so we have also created a “Sharing Your Story” page on our website at arcminnesota.org/sharing-your-story

The new â€śGuide to Sharing Your Story” is available at https://bit.ly/2FFUM82

The "Sharing Your Story" form can be found at arcminnesota.org/share-your-story-with-us

By using these tools and sharing your story with The Arc Minnesota’s public policy team, we can help connect you to your Senator and Representative and create positive change.

With questions or for more information about sharing your story, or about our 2020 policy goals, please contact me at aliciamunson@arcminnesota.org.

Register for 2020 Disability Advocacy Day at the Capitol

With the legislative session approaching, our Day at the Capitol is also getting closer - Tuesday, February 25!

This year, we are asking advocates to register in advance, so we can support accommodation requests, help schedule meetings with legislators, and share information about policy goals before the event.

To register, visit the event page on our website at https://bit.ly/2QUWwPW

You can register yourself, or on behalf of a group.

If you use social media, you can also check out the Facebook event here: https://bit.ly/2tMGCPL

This event is truly one of our most important opportunities to share personal stories with legislators and to advocate for equity, true belonging in a community, and the human rights of individuals with disabilities in Minnesota.

Here is a list of the day’s events:

9:00 – Check-in/Registration, Department of Transportation Cafeteria

9:30-10:00 – Issue & Advocacy Mini-Training

10:30-11:00 – March/Roll to the Capitol Building

11:00-11:45 – Rally in the Rotunda

11:45-on – Meetings with legislators

We hope to advocate with you on February 25th!

Updates from Washington, D.C.

Medicaid: CMS Releases New Block Grant Guidance

On January 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance allowing states to cap their federal Medicaid funding for the low-income adult population in exchange for greater flexibility to limit coverage. States would be allowed to restrict eligibility, provide limited health care benefits, reduce access to prescription drugs, impose burdensome work requirements, and make other changes that are detrimental to Medicaid beneficiaries. This guidance does not appear to directly impact the portion of the Medicaid program that funds home and community-based services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, many people with disabilities, including people with I/DD, are part of the Medicaid expansion population and could be directly impacted. Read The Arc's statement.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Allow DSPs in Hospitals

On January 21, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Ensuring Access to Direct Support Professionals Act (S.3220). This bill would allow 1915(c) waiver recipients to bring their direct support professionals (DSPs) with them to the hospital. Medicaid does not currently cover DSPs when a 1915(c) waiver recipient is admitted to the hospital, leading patients to rely on hospital staff not trained on their individual needs. The Arc supports this legislation.

From our Friends at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities


The Supreme Court rejected a request to expedite the review of a lawsuit threatening the Affordable Care Act. This decision was in response to a request from a coalition of 20 states led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for an expedited review of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling declaring the individual mandate in the ACA unconstitutional. The coalition contested the ruling and was hoping for a review before the presidential election this November, arguing that the consequences of the case are too important and far-reaching to be decided by a lower court and over several months. The Supreme Court did not rule out considering the appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court's ruling at a later time.

Plain Language:

A part of the Affordable Care Act that says everyone has to have healthcare is being questioned in the courts. The Supreme Court said it will not give an answer this year.


Rep. Susan Wile (D-PA) introduced the Voters with Disabilities Bill of Rights (HR 806). It expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should enact the Voters with Disabilities Bill of Rights to fulfill the promises of the Americans With Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws which demand equal access to the ballot box for people with disabilities and to reaffirm and ensure that voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot box.

Plain Language:

  • This says that people with disabilities should have the ability to vote.

What this means to you:

  • The disability community is a large voting block yet continues to have a low voting turnout rate because of access issues in the voting process and at polling stations.

Action steps:

Mark Your Calendars

Disability Employment Focus Groups:

Tuesday, February 18, 12:00 noon – 1:30 pm

Monday, February 24, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Focus groups will be held at The Arc Minnesota offices - 2446 University Ave. West St. Paul, MN 55114 in Suite 110

The Metro Regional Quality Council (MRQC) is hosting two employment focus groups for people with disabilities in the metro area! Anyone who has experience wanting, looking for, and/or applying for jobs is invited to join. They will make accommodations to ensure everyone is able to share their experiences. Remote participation options will also be available. Participants in the focus groups will receive a $25 Visa gift card.

If you are interested in attending, contact Angie Guenther by email at angieguenther@arcminnesota.org or phone 952-915-3669.

Noteworthy News & Resources

From Disability Scoop:

“Disability Issues Enter Spotlight In 2020 Presidential Race”

“Families Struggle To Find Child Care For Kids With Special Needs”

“Medicaid Change Prompts Worries About Disability Services”

From Minnesota Public Radio

“Senate Republicans want to renew voter ID push in 2020; DFLers say no way”

“BIpartisan group of lawmakers proposes bill to protect primary voters’ privacy”

From Star Tribune:

“Susan Kent ousts Tom Bakk as Senate DFL leader”

“Minnesota lawmakers pitch $1 billion rent subsidy program”

Looking to get involved?

Apply for the Statewide Semi-Independent Living Council! They are looking for parent advocates to join their council who can advocate for and with individuals with disabilities. Anyone with an interest in the independent living philosophy is encouraged to apply. Individuals living beyond the 11 county metro area are strongly encouraged to apply. Here’s the website: https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/disabilities/councils/silc.jsp

Thank you to our partner The Arc Northland 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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