No, it’s not that Christmas is coming. I did hear Mariah Carey’s familiar carol this morning. Some stores have had the decorations out for sale since Labor Day. And friends I play a game to see who can be the last to hear the Wham! Song Last Christmas. Hear it and alas, you are Whammercized.
Sorry, Santa. You’ll have to sit this one out.
It’s time to make final preparations for the 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature. Advocacy groups have been working on their legislative agendas for some time, lining up authors and preparing details for fiscal notes and policy considerations.
Lawmakers bang the gavel and start the session February 12, 2024. It’s a bonding and policy year, although we’ll likely see a strong focus on supplemental budgets. The state is in a good financial position. But that always means we hear far more requests than there is money available.
2024 is also an election year. What we see happening at the capitol will have elections from federal to local looming in the background of state business.
Access Press closely follows disability community doings, with hundreds of bills on our radar as the session gets underway. Committee deadlines mean that many of the bills we keep an eye on go away after a time. (In my home state, that’s referred to as a “funnel.” I will always have this mental picture of a big kitchen funnel hovering over the state capitol of Iowa. )
One deadline to keep in mind is December 1. The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) kicked off its 2024 planning November 1. MNCCD’s deadline for bills it will support is December 1, so folks need to keep that in mind if they or their organizations wish to work with MNCCD.
This is also a good time to remind folks to join MNCCD and take advantage of its sessions at the capitol. It’s very helpful to hear updates and learn about what is going on. Learn more at https://www.mnccd.org/
As for legislative doings, it is a bonding session so we have a story in our November print and online editions about the 2024 bonding bill. Bonding is important for those very much needed accessibility improvements in state buildings and parks. It’s needed for any facility improvements or new facilities at our state schools in Faribault, for state hospitals, for colleges and universities and for the capitol complex.
Fingers crossed that we see improvements to the complex tunnel system made this year, so some of don’t feel as if we are climbing Mount Everest.
Reading the list of statewide projects, I was struck by how many buildings still need major accessibility improvements. That’s especially true in Greater Minnesota. University of Minnesota Morris was a focus for our article. One building still lacks an elevator and accessible restrooms.
My other note on legislative coverage is I wish the folks taking pictures would focus on the needs, and not on rows of legislative staff grinning and mugging for the camera. Those pictures really don’t tell a story.