The legislative season kicks into high gear during the week of February 26, when several disability advocacy groups have organized special lobbying days at the State Capitol.
On Monday, February 26th, Arc Minnesota, along with Advocating Change Together, the Coalition for Children with Disabilities, PACER Center and United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota, will sponsor the “Arc Minnesota Day” at the Capitol. These groups invite members of the community to the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul MN for an all-day seminar which will focus on the issues that relate to people with disabilities in the 2001 legislative session.
Some of the topics for discussion will include special education funding, combating the maltreatment of minors in schools, increasing Medical Assistance (MA) income standards, public guardianship reform, and unlocking the Waiting List. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with state representatives and senators after lunch and take time to talk about priorities for the legislative session. A person may include themselves in this event for $20.00, which includes coffee and lunch. Registration must be completed by February 16, 2001. Contact Arc Minnesota at 1-800-582-5256 for more information.
Another lobbying event will take place on Monday the 26th in Room 217 of the State Capitol Building. Starting at 9:30 am, the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association will provide the public with general information regarding the legislative process, including a presentation by guest speaker Sen. Randy Kelly, who will explain the process of how a bill becomes a law. In the afternoon of this session, participants will have time to meet with the representatives from their local districts. MRA recommends that people plan these appointments in advance. Contact Robert Reedy at (651) 282-9848 for more information.
Lobby days continue on Tuesday, Feb. 27 with a program sponsored by Courage Center, the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL); and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter. After registration at the Sheraton Midway in St. Paul, presenters will give their audience tips on how to effectively meet with legislators, after which they will set up participants’ appointment with legislators. Also, the program will include an overview of important issues for the 2001 session, some of which include accessible housing, work incentives legislation, transit funding, cost-of-living standards for PCAs, and the 100% Campaign, which aims to bring the medical assistance income standard to 100 percent of the federal poverty rate ($695 per single adult).
After the lunch provided by the program’s sponsors, participants will leave the Sheraton and head over to the capitol to discuss with state legislators the need for attention to these issues which impact the lives of people with disabilities. Registration is due by February 20, 2001. You may contact (800) 582-5296 for more information about this session and for any specific needs such as Braille or scooters.