MNCDHH Legislative Update – February 22, 2017

February 20, 2017 Legislative Update
Hearing on Good Acoustics and Loops, More Bills Introduced, Hearings next week and on Lobby Day

Hearing on Good Acoustics and Loops
The bill to require Good Acoustics and Hearing Loops in State Funded Construction (SF 161) had a hearing in the Senate State Government Committee. The author, Senator Ann Rest, explained that the bill is a common sense approach to make spaces accessible to the 20% of the population with hearing loss. Rick Nelson, of Loop Minnesota and Beth Fraser, the Commission’s Government Relations Director, testified in favor of the bill. The Committee did not vote on the proposal. Instead, they held onto the bill. Later in the session, they may choose to include this policy in a larger bill that includes many separate bills, called “an omnibus bill.”

MSAD Bonding Bills Introduced
Last week we explained that some of the Minnesota State Academies’ funding request are included in a bill that includes all of the Governor’s bonding proposals. This week, two of the Minnesota State Academies’ bonding requests have also been introduced as separate bills. One is for $2 million for building maintenance and improvements. It is SF 904, authored by Senators John Jasinski from Faribault, Julie Rosen from Vernon Center and Torrey Westrom from Elbow Lake. In the House, it is HF 763, authored by Representatives Brian Daniels from Faribault and David Bly from Northfield.

The other is for $50,000 to improve security for students at MSAD. It is SF 902 and being authored by Senators John Jasinski from Faribault, Julie Rosen from Vernon Center and Torrey Westrom from Elbow Lake. In the House, it is HF 764, authored by Representatives Brian Daniels from Faribault and David Bly from Northfield.

Commission Bill Introduced
A bill to increase funding for the Commission to expand our ability to work with the community was introduced in the Senate. It is SF 948 and is authored by Senators Dave Senjem, Scott Dibble, Jim Abeler, and John Hoffman.

Governor’s Job Bill Introduced
The Governor’s Jobs bill has been introduced, which includes an additional $3.5 million per year to eliminate the waiting lists for Vocational Rehabilitation, which the Commission supports. It is SF 942 and is authored by Senators Jeremy Miller from Winona, Bobby Joe Champion from Minneapolis and Gary Dahms from Redwood Falls. In the House, it is HF 1081 and is authored by Representative Pat Garofalo from Farmington.

Upcoming Hearings
Over the next few weeks, we expect the legislative committees to hold many hearings on the bills the Commission is supporting. Some will be scheduled well in advance, in which case we will let you know about them so that you can come and watch the hearing if you are available. Check our Facebook page for more timely updates. www.facebook.com/MNCDHH

Hearings on Lobby Day
On Lobby Day, there will be three hearings on bills that the Commission is working on. This gives you even more reason to come. The day will include an exciting rally with hundreds of Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, and hearing Minnesotans, a chance to talk to your legislators in person and tell them why these issues are important to you, and a chance to observe the legislators discussing and debating bills that are important to us. We want to fill the hearing rooms so they can see how large the community is. Plan to come for the whole day, if you can. The hearings are:

* 8:30 to 10:00‬‪ in Senate Aging and Long Term Care Policy Committee‬‬ Hearing on SF 818, the bill to require training for senior care workers (‪1100 Minnesota Senate Building)‬‬
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‪* 3:00 to 4:30‬‪ in Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee‬‬ Hearing on SF 738, bill to modernize and increase funding for DHHSD (and Deaf Mentors)‬ (1200 Minnesota Senate Building‬‬)
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‪* 1:00 to 2:45‬‪ in House Health and Human Services Finance Committee‬‬ Hearing on 2 bills: ‪HF 774, bill to modernize and increase funding for DHHSD (and Deaf Mentors)‬ and HF 952, the bill to require training for senior care workers‬ (‪200 State Office Building‬‬)

Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Lobby Day
350 deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and hearing Minnesotans have signed up to attend Lobby Day! We are excited and looking forward to this amazing day. If you have not registered to join us and you want to come, sign up by February 28, 2017. This will give us time to coordinate your schedule and accommodations. Sign up at http://www.tinyurl.com/lobby-day-rsvp-2017

For More Information and Updates
For more information and to sign up for alerts, visit our website: www.mncdhh.org.

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