Includes information about committee hearings & omnibus bills
5/4/2022 5:51:05 PM
If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendlier ASL version instead.
Every year, the legislature sets deadlines for all committees to finish looking at and discussing many small bills. Since this legislature's first meeting in 2021, over 4,000 bills have been introduced in the House, with most bills also having a companion bill in the Senate, for a total of over 8,000 bills.
The committees review those bills and decide which ones will move forward. They must make those decisions by specific deadlines each year. This year, the last deadline was April 8. Once this work is done, legislators go on a one-week break.
Now that legislators have returned from break, the committees are working on merging all those small bills into larger "omnibus" bills. These omnibus bills usually group bills by broad topics, such as Health and Human Services, E-12 Education, and so forth. Some smaller omnibus bills get merged into even bigger ones.
We have several bills that were successfully merged into omnibus bills. We are carefully tracking each of these omnibus bills, to make sure the parts we want are not deleted.
This year, the House and Senate omnibus bills are very different. This means the next phase is even more important: when omnibus bills are brought to “conference” committees.
These conference committees have members from both the House and Senate, and for each omnibus bill, they spend many hours negotiating which parts to merge into a final joint omnibus for the House and Senate to vote on. This work must be completed before the legislative session ends, no later than May 23, 2022.
We will be urging these conference committee members to keep the parts we want. Please keep an eye out for possible action alerts in the coming weeks.
Alicia Lane-Outlaw, government relations director for MNCDHH, has been closely tracking the bills MNCDHH supports. Let’s discuss updates on each bill, as of April 27, 2022.
This bill‘s goal was to establish an interpreter licensure board. The bill did not receive a hearing in either the House or Senate, which means it did not move forward this year. Advocates are interested in trying again next year.
This bill updates and clarifies Minnesota statutes on hiring and keeping state employees with disabilities. Currently, these proposed statutes are included in a House omnibus (HF4293) but did not receive a hearing in the Senate. Legislators will decide whether it stays in the final omnibus during conference committee.
This bill updates education law so that Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) can be considered educational interpreters by the Minnesota Department of Education, which gives school district more funding options. MNCDHH testified in support and brought in additional testifiers to share their stories. Both House and Senate committees voted unanimously to advance the bill. Currently, this bill is included in the House E-12 Education omnibus (HF4300). Though the Senate committee ultimately did not include it in their education omnibus, MNCDHH will be urging conference committee members to include it in the final omnibus.
This bill will allow MSA to keep any rental income from land and living residences. MSA could earn an additional $3,000 per year from the land rental payments and possibly another $3,000 per year from leasing resident spaces when students are not present. MSA plans for the revenue to go towards staff professional development. These provisions are included in the House’s E-12 Education omnibus (HF4300). While it was not heard by a Senate committee, we will be urging conference committee members to include it in the final omnibus.
This bill protects Metro Deaf School’s ability to give preferential enrollment to students who have a primary disability of deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing. These proposed statutes are included in the House’s E-12 Education omnibus (HF4300). While the Senate did not include it in their education omnibus, the original bill itself was put on the Senate’s consent calendar, which is a short list of bills most likely to be passed. It is also on the House’s general register, which is like a “waiting list” for bills, so it has two possible paths: 1) be included in the education omnibus during conference committee, or 2) be passed on both the House and Senate floors as a standalone bill.
This bill requires school districts to establish a process for providing reasonable accommodations for parents to participate in developing their child’s Individualized Education Program. The bill was heard by a House committee, but not by a Senate committee, and it has not been included in any omnibus bills. It is unlikely to pass this year. Bill authors and advocates are interested in trying again next year.
This bill expands the list of general prohibitions against disability discrimination to include the refusal to provide closed captioning in public places of accommodation. We would like to thank the following individuals for their in-person and written testimony in support of the bill:
Currently, this bill is included in a House omnibus bill (HF4608). While the bill was not heard by a Senate committee, we will be urging conference committee members to include it in the final omnibus.
This bill creates a website accessibility grant program for local governments, to be administered by the Minnesota Council on Disability. This bill, however, was not included in House or Senate omnibus bills. MNCDHH is following up with MCD on whether they will try again next year.
This bill establishes a task force on Disability Services Accessibility. The task force will evaluate the accessibility of current state and county disability services and create a plan to address any barriers. Currently, this bill is included in a House omnibus bill (HF4706). MNCDHH was able to amend the bill to ensure that deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people are represented on the task force. While the bill was not heard by a Senate committee, we will be urging conference committee members to include it in the final omnibus.
This bill will require training for transit operators, such as bus drivers, on how to assist passengers with disabilities. The training must cover what to do in circumstances with regular access as well as how to safety enter and exit the bus when there are barriers such as snow, ice, and other obstructions. This bill’s proposed statutes made it into both House and Senate omnibus bills (HF4293/SF3975), which means it is likely to pass.
This bill establishes a grant to improve accessibility for performing art spaces. MNCDHH verified with bill authors that the installation of hearing loops would be eligible under the grant. This bill, however, was not included in House or Senate omnibus bills. MNCDHH is reaching out to bill authors and advocates about the possibility of trying again next year.
A lot can and will happen during these last days of session. Please subscribe to our newsletters or follow our website and social media to stay up to date with our updates. Find our information at mn.gov/deaf-commission. If you would like to discuss any of the bills, please reach out to our government relations director, Alicia Lane-Outlaw, at email@example.com. Thank you!
The Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing thanks:
James Paul Beldon for ASL talent.
Rita Van Der Puije for voiceover.
Keystone Interpreting Solutions for film production.