By Steve Larson, The Arc Minnesota Senior Policy Director
Thank you for your help in achieving some significant successes during the 2013 Legislative Session. Once again, you increased the presence of the disability community at the Legislature and increased contacts with legislators. Many of you worked directly with your legislators to advocate for increased state revenues, and you stayed in close contact with them throughout this session.
Because of you, we were able to help pass legislation to:
- Decrease and/or eliminate parental fees for thousands of Minnesota families.
- Greatly expand the availability of therapies for thousands of children with autism.
- Increase self-directed options for individuals receiving personal care assistance.
- Increase Medical Assistance rates for physicians, dentists, and therapists by five percent.
- Increase the amount of staff training to limit the use of restraints and instead engage in positive behavioral practices to manage behavior challenges.
- Give the Department of Human Services more authority to manage the waivers to move resources around the state as needed.
As members and supporters of The Arc, you were also busy testifying, participating in news conferences, attending Tuesdays at the Capitol, and making your presence known at our most successful Disability Day at the Capitol ever. More than 750 people signed up for Day at the Capitol and had personal contact with more than one-third of the legislators.
Thanks to all of you who came to Day at the Capitol. Thanks to our testifiers who shared their stories on parental fees, MA Income Standards, and the proposed budgets. Thanks to all who attended our news conferences in St. Cloud, Rochester, the State Capitol, and Willmar. Thanks to everyone who participated in Tuesdays at the Capitol.
To be sure, we did not get everything this year that people with disabilities needed and deserved. For example, we were very disappointed that disability services funding received only a one percent increase after so many years of budget cuts, and the anti-bullying bill did not pass the Senate. Without your involvement, though, we would not have achieved the successes that we did. Kudos to you all!