Last week, legislative leaders and the Governor were negotiating back and forth about the budget bills. Then they got frustrated and the legislature stopped negotiating. Instead, they decided just to pass the budget bills they had written, even though the Governor had said that he would veto them. Legislators and the Governor will be negotiating more this week and the legislature will need to pass another version of all of the budget bills. According to the State Constitution, the legislature is required to adjourn by next Monday, May 22nd.
The Minnesota Capitol Building has been undergoing restoration since 2015. The renovation is still ongoing but we were able to return the Capitol in 2017! [Screenshot: Changes at the Capitol]
So far, there have been many wonderful changes. For example:
• Increased seating/accessibility features in hearing rooms
• Public, accessible bathrooms on every floor
• Mother’s Room on 1st floor
• New public meeting rooms
• New Visitor Center
• New classroom
• More dining options
• Better WiFi
[Screenshot: New Accessibility Features]
Before there were 3 accessible entrances. Now there are 4.
A lot is happening and we have lots of news to share this week. The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans board met in January and added to the legislative agenda, the Governor released his budget proposal this week, and the legislature is already busy hearing and passing bills. Additions to Legislative Agenda
First the additions to the legislative agenda:
The Commission voted to also support three measures related to education and one related to communication access. The three related to education are:
Support funding and infrastructure requests for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
Support increased funding for Deaf ABE (Adult Basic Education) provided in ASL
Require that a student’s need for assistive technology be considered when developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP)
The proposal related to communication access is:
Oppose efforts to weaken laws that require business’s websites to be accessible
Now that the Governor has released his budget proposal, we know that we will support another initiative for vocational rehabilitation:
Eliminate waiting lists for Vocational Rehabilitation Services by requesting $3.5 million a year for a total of $7 million. When we get bill numbers and additional information about these proposals, we will share them with you.
Now’s your chance! This training is free for those who are accepted into the program. Hotel & Travel not covered for non-residents of MN. Trainees will have the opportunity to develop skills in supporting other Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing persons who are working towards recovering from mental health issues. Interested?
Transcript: Hello. The Minnesota Employment Center for People who are Deaf, DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing is excited to announce the expansion of their services around the state of Minnesota. Since 1993, MEC has focused on the Twin Cities area to provide job support. The State Legislature has provided funding to expand support around the state. This program is critical as we provide job support to anyone who is deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing in the state.
Applications are being accepted for those who are interested in joining the Deaf Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) Program. Specialists will be able to provide support to other Deaf peers with Mental Health needs. Applicants will undergo a weeklong training May 23-28. (See our event page). This program was recently profiled by the MinnPost. Transcript of Video:
Video Description: White Deaf Signing Woman signing to camera (Vlog style).
The State of Minnesota works hard to ensure that our employees enjoy their career with us. Our philosophy is simple: There are four key elements that make life and work meaningful: Health and wellness, financial well-being, professional development, and work/life balance. Do you currently have a resume on file or are you considering a career with the State of Minnesota? The State of Minnesota would be thrilled to have a larger number of qualified Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing employees. This is why we improved the online application process.
CSD Minnesota Advocates and Volunteers are creating Self-Care Kits to offer to our participants throughout the year. Emotional and physical self-care is about taking steps to feel healthy and comfortable, and help cope with and alleviate the short and long term effects of trauma. Self care activities may include healthy eating, exercise, meditation and personal care activities like warm baths and using comforting personal products. We are hoping to create around 150 packages to distribute throughout the next year. We are looking for small or mid-size items or monetary support from community members and community businesses.
Video description: three women stand in front of a lake and sign to the camera:
(Woman in middle): Hi! My name is Stephanie. I work for CSD Minnesota. We’re here in beautiful Walker, MN attending our partner agency Day One’s annual, or biannual, summit. It’s really been awesome, we’re learning a lot, right?
Just like Deaf people, Deaf pets are misunderstood. Let’s prove that they are awesome animals that are loved. Please do adopt one! These pets are listed by a variety of shelter and rescue organizations in Minnesota. Please click on the pet image to find out more about how to adopt them.