MNCDHH March Legislative Update
Deadlines, board decisions, and exciting new closed captioning bill!
In MNCDHH’s last legislative update, we mentioned the projected surplus of $1.6 billion. As expected, this shifted some of the major priorities of the Governor, the House, and the Senate.
Based on the new numbers, the Governor released his supplemental budget. His new budget cuts less, increases taxes less, preserves the budget reserve instead of dipping into that, and shows a structurally balanced budget.
The House has not released their finance committee spending targets as of March 19th but will do so next week.*
The Senate has released their spending priorities. They did make cuts in some of their committees' spending. They also want 5% cuts to the state’s departments and agencies.
There are no bills moving in either the House or Senate that would cut spending to MNCDHH and we don’t expect that to change with the new budget forecast.
The legislature sets three deadlines for the passage of bills every year.
The first deadline is for the bill to be passed in their house of origin. If the bill was authored by a Representative, it must pass in a House committee. If the bill was authored by a Senator, it must pass in a Senate committee. That deadline was March 12 this year.
The second deadline is for the bill, or companion bill, to be passed successfully in relevant committees. That deadline was today, March 19th.
The third deadline is for committees to pass favorably on major appropriation and finance bills. This deadline is April 9th.
The last day of this legislative session will be May 17, 2021.
New board decisions
MNCDHH’s board made three big decisions today (March 19th) regarding Rep. Daniels’ bills.
The board decided to oppose HF0828 (Daniels) / SF1134 (Hoffman) - Child neglect definition expansion to include language acquisition. The majority of the board feel that Child Protective Services is not the right place to support families with children who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.
The board decided to partially support HF1449 (Daniels) / SF1135 (Hoffman) - Deaf and hard-of-hearing students and oral/aural deaf education licensure requirements modification. The caveat is to make amendments to the language as there are parts of the bill they want removed.
In other words, the board opposes this bill in its current form but will support it if the changes are made.
The board decided to support HF0827 (Daniels) / SF1046 (Hoffman) - Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliterators created, licensure required, and rulemaking authorized.
Our Executive Director proposed having MNCDHH do a study on the idea of licensure in Minnesota. This had been requested by individuals and groups in our community. However, the board rejected the idea.**
New bill for money appropriated for LCC captioning
Please support SF2183, which appropriates $410,000 for fiscal year 2022 and $133,000 for fiscal year 2023 for the captioning of legislative coverage. Many thanks to Senator Senjem and the Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC) for their work on this. This is a funding increase and will cover the cost of increased demand for captioning services.***
Ongoing legislative updates
MNCDHH will continue to share legislative updates during this session. Please subscribe to our newsletters or follow our website and social media to stay up to date. Thank you!
The Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing thanks:
Dawson Moder for ASL talent. Patty McCutcheon for voiceover. Keystone Interpreting Solutions for film production.
* The House released their budget on March 23rd.
** Clarification: The board did not vote to reject doing the study. When the idea was proposed, two board members said no, and the proposal was dropped.
*** SF2183 now has a House companion, HF2415. Thank you, Rep. Feist and Rep. Stephenson.