Gov. Walz signs budget bills — highlights for disability community

Published 6:57 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

By Jamey Helgeson

LIFE Mower County

On May 24, the Minnesota legislature came together for a one-day special session — a 21-hour marathon of omnibus bill introductions and discussion on the floor of the House and Senate before each bill was sent to Gov. Tim Walz for consideration.

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Here are some highlights from the Health and Human Services omnibus bill:

• Funding to reduce parental fees for MA-TEFRA and HCBS waivers by 15 percent

• Funding to streamline MA-TEFRA enrollment/renewal

• Funding for a 4.7 percent Competitive Workforce Factor that will help increase Direct Support Professional wages

• Funding to increase the Medical Assistance spenddown to 100 percent Federal Poverty Guideline by July 1, 2022, allowing Minnesotans with disabilities to keep more of their hard-earned income

• Funding to increase the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) cash assistance by $100

• Funding to prevent gender-based violence in culturally specific communities statewide

• Policy language directing the Department of Human Services to collaborate with stakeholders in establishing a rate framework for the PCA program

• Policy language to create a mechanism for shared services in CDCS

• Policy language to update the Housing Access Grants statute

• No cut to accommodate waiver caps/PCA eligibility restrictions

• No cut to Medical Assistance vision/dental benefits

• No cut to Skilled Nurse Visit homecare rates

• No policy language expanding adult foster care capacity to six beds

Highlights from the E-12 omnibus bill:

• Funding for a 2 percent increase to the general education formula in 2020-2021 and 2022-2023

• Increased funding for special education, resulting in $91m over base in the first biennium (2020-2021), and over $142m over base in second biennium (2022-2023)

• Funding for “cross subsidy reduction aid” – equaling 4.3 percent of unreimbursed cross subsidy in 2020 and 8.6 percent in 2021

• No policy language to eliminate short-term objectives

• No policy language to eliminate conciliation conferences

Highlights from the Housing omnibus bill(s):

• Funding for the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program, providing rental assistance to adults, youth, and children at risk of experiencing homelessness

• Funding to rehabilitate existing rental properties and improve accessibility

• Funding for Housing Infrastructure Bonds to preserve and expand affordable housing statewide

Highlights from the Jobs omnibus bill:

•Funding for extended employment services and EE provider rate increases

• Funding for Centers for Independent Living statewide

• Funding for a county-based grant to increase competitive, integrated employment for transition-age youth with disabilities

Highlights from the State Government omnibus bill:

• Funding to modernize Minnesota’s voter registration system, improve accessibility, and enhance election security through the Help America Vote Act account

• Policy language to establish a working group that will improve and enhance accessibility measures

Highlights from the omnibus Tax bill:

• Policy language to continue the health care provider tax at 1.8 percent, protecting funding for the Health Care Access Fund and Medical Assistance

None of this would have been possible without the hard work, dedicated advocacy, and powerful storytelling of members of our disability community statewide.

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