Minnesota Legislative Update – March 29, 2017

There is a great deal going on at the Minnesota Legislature right now.

 

State Bills and Updates

The latest updates for ongoing bills of interest….

Best Life Alliance Bill: 4% increase for 2017 and 4% increase for 2018 with additional dollars to assist paying for health care coverage for direct support professionals in 2019.

Update: This is a very large dollar item for the state. Currently 2017 looks like a $400 million commitment. Given the Senate has now committed to a $300,000 million decrease in the Health and Human Service budget due to the  surplus, this may be difficult to get passed.

MSA/GRH Bill: Increases the amount of Minnesota Supplemental Aid from $194 to $367 and allows people moving out of Group Residential Housing settings (such as group homes) to use these dollars to pay for more independent settings.

Update: This is now included in the Senate Omnibus bill. There has been a language change from GRH to Housing with Services. Also, the fiscal note provided demonstrates a savings to the state as individuals would move off of GRH to MSA

DWRS: Policy vs Money

Policy: adds language for orientation for direct care works from 60 to 90 days and demonstrates competency.  adds language for natural supports vs volunteers. extends the ability to add a 5th bed to current AFC homes for 2 years. no dollars are associated with this bill.

Update: In order to continue to move the bill forward, they have removed the 90 day clause and verbiage around natural supports vs volunteers

Money: allows ICFs to bill for leave days even with an ‘open bed’. Asks for dollars to provide for a study to combine all waivers and provide the same services for all.

Update: Fiscal note is $10 million but is being forwarded to possibly be included in the Omnibus bill

Limits on local governments: Stops local governments from creating their own requirements such as minimum wage, sick time rules, or over-time rules; such as Minneapolis and St. Paul did…which become effective 7/1/17.

Update: There is lots of support for this and it will probably pass the legislature, but the Governor says he will veto it.

Governor’s Supplemental Budget, House and Senate Targets Released

Last Friday, Governor Dayton released his Supplemental Budget proposal. In this proposal the Governor does not include a rate increase for Home and Community Based Services and makes a legislative clarification that would reduce an automatic inflationary increase for DWRS providers by 7%. ARRM views this as a 7% cut to providers and in conjunction with almost 100 ARRM members and other organizations across the state sent a letter to Governor Dayton Friday, outlining our concern and frustration with this cut.

The House and Senate also released their initial budget targets. In the House a cut to Health and Human Services of almost $600 million has been proposed, the Senate proposes a cut of $335 million to Health and Human Services. We should be greatly concerned with these proposed cuts and continue to send out Action Alerts to stakeholders, urging contact to legislators about the importance of prioritizing and investing in a wage increase for Direct Support Professionals. If you have not already, please send your Representative and Senate member a message.

We anticipate a draft of the Health and Human Services Omnibus bills to be released early this week.

 

Rita Wiersma, CEO

Portions of these updates were drawn from ARRM and MN-CCD.   Thank you to them for their diligent work on these issues.

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