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2017 Legislation Details and Gov. Dayton's Budget

The 2017 Minnesota Legislative Session is in full swing and moving along quickly. Together we need to loudly make the case for better wages and benefits for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) direct care workers who support people with disabilities. We cannot let past disappointments stop us from being successful this year!

Our progress so far:

  • Thanks to everyone who shared their story for "Meet MN's DSPs" project. If you haven't had a chance it's not too late!  Best Life Alliance has made this really easy to submit your personal story. Your story will make a difference!
  • Best Life Alliance committee “Field Team” sent letters about the need to address the HCBS workforce shortage to every legislator, continues to host site visits and urge legislators to take action.
  • The “Steering & Lobby Teams” are actively meeting with key policymakers and are putting the finishing touches on our legislation which is headed to the Revisor's office for drafting.  Once the bills are back from the Revisor's office, members of the Lobby Team will connect with key legislators to sign on to the bill and it will be introduced in the next few weeks.
  • The “Communications Team” is finalizing our messaging and media strategy, and working on handouts that will be coming soon.
  • ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14th, with a rally beginning at 10:00 am in the Capitol Rotunda. It will be nice to be back in the Capitol!  

Our 2017 Legislation

The Situation

  • Governor Dayton's proposed 2018-2019 Minnesota budget was released and although it provides increases to Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), it fails to include better wages and benefits for thousands of underpaid direct care workers who support individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • Last session was a missed opportunity. Current direct care worker wages are lagging far behind those of other local businesses, and have created a serious workforce shortage and instability in Minnesota's Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS).
  • Minnesota's Olmstead Plan and the Federal Government (CMS) have put forth new mandates that individuals with disabilities live and work in the least restrictive settings with as much independence as possible. Achieving these reforms as a community requires a skilled and adequately-compensated direct care workforce.
  • It's our moral duty as citizens to take action to stabilize Minnesota's Home & Community-Based Services in 2017!!

Our 2017 Ask

Better compensation for direct care workers who support people with disabilities in Home & Community-Based Services is critical to stabilize essential services for Minnesotans with disabilities, local businesses, and communities statewide. To access the 2017 Best Life Alliance Fact Sheet, click here .

 Best Life Alliance's 2017 legislation includes two components:

1. Pass wage increases that will go directly to Minnesota's HCBS direct care workers who support people with disabilities through:

  • a 4% rate increase for direct care worker wages effective July 1, 2017.
  • a second 4% increase for direct care worker wages effective July 1, 2018.

2. Improve health insurance for direct care workers by increasing HCBS disability provider rates to cover the cost of single employee healthcare coverage by July 1, 2019. The process for implementing this would be determined following research and stakeholder input.

  • With their low current wages, we know that most direct care workers cannot afford health insurance. This new initiative will help recruit and retain the staff who are the foundation of Home & Community-Based Services while improving the quality of care for people with disabilities who receive services.

We are energized and ready to powerfully advocate with you during the 2017 session. Please stay tuned for simple ways you can help make better wages and benefits for direct care workers a reality this year.

To sign up and receive emails from Best Life Alliance, click here .

Thank you for your support!!