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Updates from the Legislature

Congress has been hard at work passing laws to benefit the disability community.

As we continue to navigate the Coronavirus epidemic, both federal and state legislators have worked to provide relief for individuals and organizations across the country. Thanks to ongoing legislative asks from our community, legislators have passed several laws that benefit the disability community.

Below is a summary of what has passed:

State Level COVID-19 Legislation:

Executive Orders

On March 25, Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-20, directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home, unless a worker is deemed essential personnel.  The Stay at Home order is in place from March 27 – April 10, 2020

Earlier this month, he also issued Executive Order 20-12. Among this legislation includes:

  • Ordering the closure of all public and private schools in the state of Minnesota, during which schools are still required to provide childcare to those families who are deemed most essential, including: providers of healthcare, emergency medical services, long-term and post-acute care; law enforcement personnel; personnel providing correctional services; public health employees; firefighters and other first responders.
  • ARRM, our state trade association, DID confirm that Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) ARE eligible to receive childcare services under the "long-term care" provision.
  • This Executive Order gives the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services authority to temporarily waive or modify provisions found in any of the following:
             -  The Human Services Licensing Act
             -  The Human Services Background Study Act

This allows the Department of Human Services (DHS) to ease restrictions, regulations, and provide additional guidance.

Federal COVID-19 CARES Act:

On the federal level, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law by the president on Friday, March 27. It contained three pieces of legislation that ANCOR, our national trade association, and its community, worked hard to obtain. This Act includes:

  • Making permanent “Margie and Isaiah’s Law,” which enables states to reimburse DSPs for the time they spend supporting individuals during short-term hospitalizations.
  • Making Medicaid-funded disability service providers eligible for emergency small business loans. Medicaid providers had been excluded in previous drafts, but your advocacy made a difference!
  • Renewing the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program through November 30, 2020.

It’s time to say thank you to our legislators for including the disability community in their legislation. Write to your state legislator thanking them for their support of the SF 4200 bill. In addition to expressing our appreciation, we also want to educate Congress on the federal level about important next steps it must take when working on a fourth COVID-19 relief package in May.

ANCOR has set up a one-click email tool for you to reach out to our federal legislators. Follow the link, insert your address, and hit send, that’s all you have to do!

Thank you for your advocacy! Please help us continue to fight for the rights of individuals with disabilities!