Please contact your legislators
Make the calls, send the emails
and keep them coming
The Health and Human Services (HHS) Omnibus bill Conference Committee has been appointed. These 10 legislators now begin their substantial task of working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the HHS Omnibus bills.

These Conference Committee members need to be hearing from their constituents and other legislators about the need for long-term funding for disability waiver services to address the current lack of service access.

The Conference Committee House members include Representatives Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), Aisha Gomez (DFL-Minneapolis), Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul), and Tony Albright (GOP-Prior Lake). The Conference Committee Senate members include Senators Jim Abeler (GOP-Anoka), Paul Utke (GOP-Park Rapids), Mark Koran (GOP-North Branch), Michelle Benson (GOP-Ham Lake), and John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin).

Here’s how you can help now:

Please reach out to your MN House member and your MN Senate member. Share your personalized message about the importance of investing in waiver-funded disability services to address current service access barriers for Minnesotans with disabilities. Below you will find points to consider personalizing and sharing in your message.  
  • If needed, open your email by reminding your legislator you are a constituent or provider of disability services in their district.

  • State at the start of your email that you are asking your legislator to contact the HHS Omnibus bill Conferees to advocate for investments in the wages and benefits of Direct Support Professionals working in waiver-funded disability services this session. If your own legislator is on the above list of the Conference Committee members, you can ask them to advocate for this directly through their work on the committee.

  • The Senate did include long-term investments in waiver-funded disability services in the Senate HHS omnibus bill, so in your note to your MN Senator you can thank them for those investments and ask that they advocate to continue to keep those investments in the final House/Senate compromise HHS Omnibus bill.

  • The House did not include long-term investments in waiver-funded disability services in the House HHS Omnibus bill, so in your note to your MN House member you should ask them to please advocate to add those investments to the final House/Senate compromise HHS Omnibus bill. 

  • Acknowledge that the legislature is being asked to address several important needs this session given how destabilizing the worker shortage and COVID have been for a variety of human services in our state.

  • Also acknowledge that past investments in the rates for waiver-funded disability services have been greatly appreciated. However, because those adjustments are based on outdated data, the reality is that the current state set rates are not allowing for staff wages and benefits that are competitive. As a result, people with disabilities in our district are facing more and more barriers in access to waiver-funded disability services. The fact is that until the legislature addresses the outdated data used for the scheduled adjustments to waiver-funded disability service rates, the wages for waiver-funded disability services staff will remain well behind the labor market rate for similar jobs, and individuals with disabilities will continue to face a rapidly shrinking menu of options for the supports they seek.

  • Remind your legislator what that lack of access to waivered-funded disability services means for people with disabilities in your district.

  • How many staff openings does your organization now have? How long is your waiting list?

  • What do you hear from individuals and families about the impact for them of those barriers in access to employment/day enrichment services?

  • Ask your legislator to, in these last two weeks of session, do all they can to push for the final HHS Omnibus bill to support the spectrum of essential disability services - including waiver-funded disability services. The budget surplus currently available provides each legislator an opportunity to work to ensure that along with other critical HHS needs, the HHS Omnibus bill makes the needed investments so Minnesotans with disabilities can live full and meaningful lives. 

  • Thank them for their service, and close with your name and city.
Thank you for your support.
Top photo: KEYC Mankato