The Minnesota Legislature concluded the 2006 legislative session with the passage of a bill to protect the Metro Mobility Service area from being cut back. This law will protect the status quo for people with disabilities and requires that any cuts to the Metro Mobility service area be approved by the legislature. The Metropolitan Council will no longer be able to make administrative decisions to cut services. The law also requires that Metro Mobility service be provided to cities as a whole, not limited to selected neighborhoods.
The bill passed the Minnesota House of Representatives on a vote of 132 to 0 on the final day of the session and the Minnesota Senate 64 to 0. The bills were chief authored by State Senator Steve Murphy and State Representative Mary Liz Holberg and were signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty on May 31.
The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities advocated for this bill in reaction to the 2005 Metropolitan Council proposal to im-plement a 10 percent cut in the program’s funding. As a result of the proposal, five communities would have had no Metro Mobility service. Eleven additional suburbs would have lost more than half of their current service area, and another 12 cities would have lost a portion of their service. In all, 28 metro communities would have seen significant reductions in service. Fortunately, the council was able to avoid making these cuts to the Metro Mobility service area last year.
Joel Ulland is the Public Policy Director of the MS Society’s MN Chapter