skip to content
Primary navigation


January 29, 2021 Legislative Update

Government Relations Director position posted, board decisions on bills led by others

2/2/2021 8:02:51 AM

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendlier ASL version instead.

English version

We have some good news to share.

First, MNCDHH’s position for a Government Relations Director has been posted. To find the job posting, please visit Minnesota Careers

Then go to External Applicants and click on ‘Search for jobs now.’ Put in the job id number, ‘43504.’

Do you know any great candidates? Share the listing with them and encourage them to apply!

Second, we are in the process of contracting with a professional lobbyist to help MNCDHH advance our legislative agenda. We expect the contract to be complete soon. 

Last, MNCDHH’s board met today and made some decisions about bills that are being led by others.

Bills that are being led by others

Here are the bills being led by others.

Minnesota State Academies - Support

The Minnesota State Academies (MSA) ask MNCDHH to support changes to their budget allocations including their operational budget, new staff positions, technology funds, and retention of rental income.

The board voted to support MSA’s request. 

Metro Deaf School - Support

Metro Deaf School (MDS) asked MNCDHH to support a quick fix to legislation that will allow parents to select an early intervention program for their child who is DHH. The time of the program selection was to start right at birth – age 3.  Currently, placement/parent choice can only occur with Part C of IDEA (starting at age 3).  MDS will propose the change in language.  

The board voted to support MDS’s request. 

Right to Language - Decided not to vote but will work with Rep. Daniels on bill development

This is a bill to add language deprivation to the list of maltreatment of minors. It was previously authored by Representative Daniels with his constituent Sonny Wasilowski. We are waiting on the modified language of this year’s bill. 

There are many questions about this bill such as who is deciding if a child is language deprived? There are concerns about the bill being punitive. Does the social worker or child protective services have the skill and knowledge for assessment? 

The board decided not to support or reject this bill. Instead, the board voted to continue working with Representative Daniels on the development of this bill.

Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Language Modification - Decided not to vote

This is a bill also written by Representative Daniels with his constituent Sonny Wasilowski. This calls for rules requiring K-12 teacher candidates for deaf and hard of hearing students to demonstrate at least level 4 proficiency on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) evaluation.  Among other relicensure requirements, each teacher under this section must complete 30 continuing education clock hours on hearing loss topics including ASL, ASL linguistics, or deaf culture and must demonstrate at least level 4 proficiency on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview evaluation in each re-licensure renewal period (every 5 years).

The board agrees that teachers should have a higher skill level in ASL. They have questions. It is not clear if there is an option of which tests are acceptable, ASLPI or SLPI.  Will the new testing requirements apply to only new applicants or all current and renewable licensed going forward? What is the input from teachers and the Department of Education? 

The board needs to see the language in the bill to make an educated decision and decided not to vote on this.

Closed Captioning - Support but contingent on making changes in language

This is a bill also written by Representative Daniels with his constituent Sonny Wasilowski. This bill requires closed-captioned television in certain circumstances; appropriating money; amending the Minnesota Statutes 2018 proposing coding for new law in Minnesota. In developing a comprehensive state emergency operations plan and emergency management program, the state must incorporate plans for closed-captioning and real-time captioning for television. It also requires MNCDHH to partner with DHHSD to create a public awareness campaign for businesses, including but not limited to hotels, restaurants, bars, hospitals, and shopping malls, and government entities to provide closed-captioned televisions. It required MNCDHH to develop a grant program for nonprofits to create a public awareness campaign on the need for closed captioning and provide training on use of closed captioning. 

MNCDHH has already explained to Rep. Daniels about the lack of a timeline in this bill and lack of ongoing funds to accomplish the tasks. MNCDHH also does not provide grants or grant opportunities. We have asked Rep. Daniels to make modifications to the bill but have not yet seen the new language.

The board voted to support this bill contingent on modifications in the language.  

Interpreter Licensure - Decided not to vote, need community involved

This is a bill also written by Representative Daniels. This bill is to establish a statewide interpreter licensure. 

The readiness factor is not there and there is a need for community involvement and community organizations to work together on this. The deafblind community has not been involved at all. (Clarification: There are other stakeholder groups that have not been involved as well, not only the deafblind community.) We also heard that it was the old interpreter licensure bill that is slated to be proposed again this year without the language and suggestions from the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens. This shows again that stakeholder involvement is not there yet. 

The board decided to hold off on voting on this item until we can actually see the language in the bill. 

Modification of Language and Reimbursement for CDIs in Classrooms - Support

This is an idea proposed by David and Gloria Nathanson with support of their legislator, Rep. Becker-Finn. This will modify language in educational interpreter law. Currently, the language requires that an educational interpreter must complete an Interpreter Training Program (ITP). Nationwide, there is no ITP for Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs). The language in this bill would allow a CDI to work in schools without completing an ITP program and would allow the school district to be reimbursed for the salary of the CDI.  

MNCDHH supported this bill before. The board voted to support this bill again.

Ongoing legislative updates

As of January 29th, we are still waiting for the above items to be introduced. We will share the bill numbers as soon as we have them. You can use the bill numbers to check on the status of the bill and reference them if you talk to legislators about the bill. 

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:

Jimmy Beldon Jr. for ASL talent.

Patty McCutcheon for voiceover.

Keystone Interpreting Solutions for film production.


back to top