[Slide: More information about HF 774 (DHHSD bill)]
[Two people are sitting in front of the camera. One is a woman, the other is a man.]
Hello, my name is Jessalyn Akerman-Frank. I am an independent contractor with the Commission.
Hello, my name is Emory Kevin Dively. I am an independent contractor with MNCDHH. Jessalyn and I are working together today.
Jessalyn: Yes. The purpose of this vlog is to answer questions we received from the community about HF 774. Your questions are important to us. You requested more history and background, which is included in this vlog. Forty years ago, the community gathered together and advocated for legislation to overcome communication and access barriers. As a result, funding was approved to set up DHHSD offices. Over the past 40 years, changes in technology, services, and what people need have taken place. This means DHHSD needs to modernize their services. Two years ago we asked the Legislature for funding for a study, to examine how DHHSD can improve their services. During the study, members of the community who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing had 20 different opportunities to share their feedback. There were in-depth discussions also. Members of organizations, businesses, and nonprofits gathered together to deeply analyze for the study. All of these discussions resulted in the bill that we proposed to the Legislature for funding. The plan is for modernized services that match your needs. We will explain more in depth about what is HF 774.
Emory: This is an update on the status of HF 774. You did great work sending comments and feedback to your legislators and MNCDHH! Now, what is the bill’s status? The deadline has passed. One deadline was last Friday, March 10. The second deadline is tomorrow, Friday, March 17. The opportunity to add new things to the bill at the last minute is gone. Why is it too late to change things in the bill? It requires sending the bill to new committees and the deadline has passed for that. Adding new language at this point would kill the bill. The deadline has truly passed. What happens if this current HF 774 bill dies and what is the impact? $3.2 million funding for two years will be on hold. DHHSD services will not have the funding to expand services, staff or technology. Funding for Deaf Mentor, DeafBlind and Mental Health services will be put on hold. It will likely be harder to re-do it in 2 years. We do VALUE any community input, we encourage the community to work with us together. MNCDHH has passed 70 bills, which means we can and we will serve the community to improve more services that make a difference in the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community. We look forward to continuing working with you all!
Jessalyn: Thank you.