This is the ASL version of the following update:

Legislative Update – April 25, 2016

• Combined “Omnibus” Funding Bills
• Funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School Continues to Move Forward
• New Bill: Funding for Adult Basic Education (ABE) at Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)
• Still waiting on the Looping and Acoustics Bill
• Still working on the Closed Captioning Bill

Combined “Omnibus” Funding Bills
Committees in the House and the Senate each spent last week deciding what they want to spend state money on this year and combining the proposals into large “omnibus” funding bills. The Senate combined all of the spending into one big bill. The House has three bills. The full Senate and House will pass the Omnibus Finance bills early this week. However, since the House and Senate versions of the bills are different, they will have to meet in a joint conference committee to work out the differences. One conference committee, with representatives from both the House and Senate, will work on all of the Omnibus Finance Bills.

Funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School Continues to Move Forward
Funding for Pre-K at the Metro Deaf School is still included in Omnibus Finance bills in both the House and the Senate.

New Bill: Funding for Adult Basic Education (ABE) at Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)
The Commission added a new bill to our legislative agenda. We are helping CSD get funding for their Adult Basic Education programs, which serve deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people statewide. The bill would split $400,000 between CSD, and two other ABE programs – one that serves American Indians and one that serves new Americans. The funding is included in the Education section of the House Omnibus Finance bill.

Still Waiting on the Acoustics and Looping Bill
We are still waiting for news about the bill to require that good acoustics and hearing loops be installed when the state funds the construction or major rehab of a public meeting space, SF 1784.

Bills related to construction, like this one, are considered by the Capital Investment Committees in the House and Senate. The Capital Investment Committees (also called the Bonding Committees because the construction is paid for by selling state bonds) are the only committees that haven’t put their Omnibus bills together.

The Senate Bonding Committee liked the bill when they heard it last year. We believe it will probably be included in that committee’s omnibus bill when they put it together.
We are waiting to see if the House Capital Investment Committee will also hold a hearing on the bill, HF 2057.
Working on the Closed Captioning Bill
Some legislators raised concerns about the Closed Captioning bill in the House and Senate committee hearings a few weeks ago. They expressed concern that if the bill was passed, it could lead to lawsuits against hospitals. Since the hearing, we have heard even more concerns about the bill and some hesitancy to passing it this year. We are still working to get it passed. We are working on rewriting some of the language in the bill so that everyone is comfortable with passing it. We will update you on our progress on this bill next week.

For more information and to sign up for alerts, visit our website: http://mn.gov/deaf-commission/

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