For the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD), 2020 was a year full of the unexpected, with many new challenges and triumphs. The consortium is looking toward 2021 but it needs disability advocacy organizations and community members to continue its record of success.
The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) is a broad-based coalition of advocacy and provider organizations working to change public policy to improve the lives of people with disabilities through building awareness, providing education and engaging the community.
Organizations eligible for membership are those that serve and/or advocate on behalf of Minnesotans with disabilities. Governmental agencies may be members of MNCCD only if their statutory mission includes advocacy on behalf of Minnesotans with disabilities.
Our current year began with a well-attended and successful MNCCD Advocacy Conference highlighted by Gov. Tim Walz as our special guest. When the state capitol and offices closed to visitors we began to advocate virtually, successfully hosting Virtual Tuesdays at the Capitol, with high attendance and participation.
MNCCD’s contract lobbyists worked hard to advance our 2020 legislative agenda. Even with the change of course in session and multiple special sessions, several MNCCD policy priorities were signed into law including modernizing Minnesota’s guardianship laws, autism training for first responders, and prior Authorization Reform.
We could not have accomplished what we did in 2020 without the support of each one of our members. As the end of 2020 is approaching, we are looking ahead to 2021. We are already diligently preparing our 2021 legislative agenda, planning advocacy events, and preparing for the future of Tuesdays at the Capitol.
We have a collective voice that has become increasingly powerful and now is the time for our voice to be heard. We know that financially times are tough, but we also know that the work we do cannot be done by any one organization alone. With a pending state deficit in the 2021-2022 biennium, the Health and Human Services budget is at great risk for cuts. Membership dollars keep MNCCD going and are more important perhaps than ever as we prepare to defend all of the important programs and services people with disabilities depend on.
The MNCCD annual meeting was held September 30, after this edition of Access Press went to press. At that meeting MNCCD members voted on revisions to the MNCCD bylaws. The changes on the table would update bylaws dating from 2014.
One major change considered is that of individual memberships, to ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in all of MNCCD’s work.
Structural changes were being considered for the MNCCD Executive Committee and board officer positions, making it clear that participation in committees (including work groups) is only open to MNCCD members (to protect the value of membership). Another change would require that all members and board members sign a code of conduct.
Procedural changes were also on the table, focusing on policy issues. Policy work is crucial for MNCCD and its members. It was recommended that policy priorities go directly from the Policy Committee to the full membership and then to the board. This proposed change was seen allowing the policy co-chairs to work with the board directly to add or modify policy priorities during a legislative session.
Watch MNCCD social media and the November issue of Access Press for an update on the bylaws changes.
MNCCD is as strong as our members, and the decisions are made by those at the table. Watch for opportunities to get involved and events hosted by MNCCD.
Thank you for your continued membership and your collaborative work for people with disabilities. Please contact us if you have any questions. Get a membership form by contacting Bridget Carter at [email protected]. MNCCD is providing an option to pay membership dues online through the MNCCD PayPal account as well as with checks.
MNCCD is looking forward to a successful year ahead!
This information is from Marnie Falk, MNCCD Board Chair, and Bridget Carter, MNCCD Project Coordinator.