Back on March 8th many of us at Living Well participated in the ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol to advocate for disability services and to further the reach of our advocacy. Disability Day at the Capitol is a critically important annual event offering face time with our representatives, allowing us to share why we need the funding and celebrate the outcomes of services that impact people with disabilities. While it is always better to meet in person at the Capitol—where we get to wave our signs and connect with other organizations and advocate collectively in addition to meeting with our elected officials—the Zoom meetings were once again successful. We were happy to have the opportunity to share our stories and be a part of the meaning behind the day.
But one day is not enough to erase decades of underfunding. One day is not enough to entice immediate changes that will better the employment statistics of our industry. One day cannot bring immediate change to the quality of care or services for thousands of deserving people and families living and thriving with disabilities. One day is not sufficient to erase the stigma and discrimination relating to people often viewed as other. One day can never be enough to make the changes necessary to positively impact the lives of the people we serve, and the employees who dedicate their time and energy to finding innovative ways to enrich the lives of people with disabilities who deserve more than funding. But one day can certainly make an impact, especially when coupled with the dedication to make a difference via consistent advocacy and outreach.
For this reason, we ask you to please reach out to your representatives before the legislative session ends in late May, to voice your reasons for supporting specific bills and disability funding in general.
Important bills (SF stands for Senate File and HF stands for House File):
- Support the spectrum of services for people with disabilities SF 562 and HF 740
- Immediate Relief SF 2968 and HF 3268
- Long-Term Workforce Sustainability SF 2771 and HF 3100
- Regulatory Reforms SF 3128 and HF 3163
You might be thinking, the state has a budget surplus, so therefore everything will be properly funded. But the problem is twofold. First, there may be a budget surplus, but in truth a surplus means things were generally underfunded, and programs and services were going without the funds necessary to run smoothly. And second, there are many other areas of need throughout the state, and when spread thin, it is hard to guarantee who will get funded, and if the funds will be enough to make positive change. Therefore, advocacy and shining a light on what we do is not a one-day thing. We must embrace every opportunity to normalize disability, and to start the conversations that will showcase the millions of people who deserve the highest quality care possible and to be seen and supported by their communities and the world at large.
With the legislature in session until late May we ask you to please reach out and tell your reps why you advocate for disability funding. And we ask you to do it as soon as possible, for we all know many decisions are made early in the process. It is time for us to use our voices to ask for what we see as essential services, and to stand up and ask our friends, family, and networks to consider reaching out as well.
Here is a link to find your reps: LCC-GIS (mn.gov)
And here are a few talking points to help you craft your conversation or email:
- Support Immediate relief: Relieve pressure on staffing shortages
- Support HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) scholarship funds
- Support 5% rate increase
- Support efforts to retain care providers from leaving the job/s
- Support DSP (Direct Support Professional) child-care grants
- Support meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities
Thank you for your continued advocacy. Together our voices get louder, creating a greater impact and further reach.