On Friday, April 28th, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Senator Paul Gazelka and Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt announced their budget targets for conference committees.  Their health and human services (HHS) conference committee’s target was $500 million.  The Governor was not involved in setting this target, and he now wants the conference committees to complete their work before he will get involved in setting targets.  The goal for finalizing targets with the Governor is Thursday, May 4th.

The HHS conference committee is next scheduled to meet Monday, May 1st at 3:00 pm.  The conference committee, at least in public, has about 10% of its work complete.  The Minnesota Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in three weeks on May 22nd.  The Governor and legislative leaders have yet to figure out how they will resolve their differences in order for this session to be done on time.

Our task is to stay on message and to continue to advocate for our priorities, both with the Governor and legislators.  We are in good shape with our bills for lowering parental fees, expanding consumer directed community supports, creating new employment services, and providing additional housing assistance through Minnesota Supplemental Aid.  We need to continue to be in regular contact with our legislators on these issues, urging them to continue to support them.  On other issues where we have not been successful yet, we need to continue to advocate for the conference committee to keep considering these issues (i.e., the Best Life Alliance legislation, Medical Assistance Spend Down, and the Complex Care Coalition’s efforts to increase funding for PCA services provided those with high needs).

Your advocacy efforts have helped get us where we are at, so please stay in regular contact with your legislators.  Look for and respond to our action alerts over the course of the next three weeks.  Thanks for your work.

Steve Larson, Senior Policy Director