2017 Legislative session underway

January 16, 2017

By Julie Peters, Communications Director

The start of the 2017 State Legislature kicked off January 3, and Opportunity Partners is already engaged in a number of issues important to disability service providers, the people we serve and their families, and our employees. While facing mounting pressures for system change and innovation on multiple fronts and an ongoing workforce shortage in our industry, now is the time to let lawmakers know that our services are critical!

Advocates at the Day at the Capitol

Opportunity Partners is again this year partnering with the Best Life Alliance, a Minnesota coalition advocating for Home & Community-Based services that support people with disabilities and employ Direct Support Professionals. The alliance formed in 2014 and was successful in advocating for and receiving a 5 percent rate increase for providers that year; however, even with the 2014 increase, rates for our services remain far behind the pace of inflation and staff turnover continues to be a challenge.

This year, Best Life Alliance legislation will again ask lawmakers to support Home & Community-Based Services to ensure better compensation for direct care workers and support more stable, quality services that allow people with disabilities to live and work as independently as possible.

You can follow Best Life Alliance updates via this link.

Opportunity Partners is an active member of ARRM, a disability trade association working to ensure Minnesota’s public policy and regulatory environment promotes the independence, health and safety of people with disabilities. In 2017, ARRM and its members will focus on passing reforms to help address the significant workforce shortages in our industry. Learn more about ARRM’s legislative agenda here: https://www.arrm.org/arrmpdfs/advocacy/legislativeagenda2017.pdf

As a member of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation (MOHR), Opportunity Partners shares in the belief that people with disabilities should have access to effective and high quality employment and day services of their choice. We’ll be partnering with MOHR to advocate for legislation that addresses the workforce shortage and ensures employment and day service sustainability.

You can learn more about MOHR’s efforts at http://mohrmn.org/

Here’s more ways you can get involved:
• Reach out and meet your State Senator and Representative – they work for you! Find out who your lawmakers are using this tool: http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/
• Go to a rally! ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 14. Join more than 1,000 other disability advocates for a 10 am rally in the State Capitol rotunda followed by meetings with legislators. Learn more about this important day here
• Contact us at info@opportunities.org to ask questions or join our efforts!

Your support of Opportunity Partners and your advocacy efforts and commitment to people we serve are key to successful outcomes at the legislature. As always, thank you for your advocacy!