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Hello, I’m Alicia. I’m the government relations director for the Commission. To describe my appearance, I’m a white Hispanic woman with dark wavy hair to my shoulders, with glasses. I’m wearing a black top with quarter sleeves and silver earrings, and the background behind me is black.

Regular legislative sessions are two years, restarting after each election. Bills introduced in the first year can be carried over to the second year for further action. Now that the legislature has completed the 2021-2022 legislative session, I will summarize the outcomes of the 2021-2022 legislature.

2021: Universal Newborn CMV Screening Review – Passed!
The Universal Newborn CMV Screening Review was passed. Legislators instructed an advisory committee to recommend whether to require universal newborn screening for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a common cause of hearing loss in young children. Some legislators wanted to simply provide CMV education for certain families, but MNCDHH and allies successfully pushed for universal CMV screening.

2021: Guaranteed Access to a Landline – Protected!
Guaranteed Access to a Landline was protected. The Senate attempted to remove the only statute that ensures every Minnesotan has access to telephone service. The loss of analog phone services would have disproportionately impacted hard of hearing Minnesotans, deaf seniors, and deaf people without access to high-speed internet. After urging from us and other advocates, the House and Senate agreed to preserve universal service protections.

2021: More Funds for Captioning Livestreams – Passed!
More funds for captioning livestreams was passed. During the pandemic, legislators switched to remote or hybrid hearings and increased internet livestream coverage. More livestreams meant the funds for captioning livestreams was no longer sufficient. The legislators agreed and increased funds for the captioning.

Other 2021 Bills of Interest
Minnesota Special Education Recovery Services and Supports. This law required all Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams to schedule a meeting no later than December 1, 2021, to review the impacts of the pandemic on the child and to discuss whether new or different special education services or supports are required.

The full transcript is available at: http://mn.gov/deaf-commission/news/index.jsp?id=1063-542027

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