LeadingAge Minnesota Celebrates Return to In-person Advocacy Day at Capitol
Posted on March 16, 2023 by Kayla Khang
Over 100 members came together this week at LeadingAge Minnesota’s Day at the Capitol, the first in-person day since 2019 after years of COVID-related restrictions. The strong showing illustrates that members understand the importance of speaking up and sharing their stories.
Advocating for our priorities
LeadingAge Minnesota advocates focused their efforts on three key priorities:
- HF733/SF780, the Long-Term Care Imperative payment bill that provides a $52 /day rate increase for nursing homes, addresses the 21-month delay in payment for nursing homes, and fully funds Elderly Waiver and customized living services in BI and CADI waivers.
- HF1596/ SF1640: A rate study for implementing Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, an innovative model that allows seniors 55+ to receive supportive community-based care.
- HF2060/ SF1969: A bill that makes reasonable adjustments to some of our assisted living statutes.
Timing is everything
LeadingAge Minnesota kicked off an unofficial “seniors advocacy week” at the Capitol. Several other older adult advocacy groups also held their advocacy days this week. Our collective advocacy could not have come at a better time. We are halfway through the 2023 legislative session, and state lawmakers have ten weeks to craft a budget.
By April 4, we should know how much each budget area will have to spend of the state’s $17.6 billion surplus. What does this mean for aging services? We have about a month to urge legislators to ensure enough funding in the Human Services budget to accommodate a $5/hour wage increase for our caregivers.
Capitalizing on our opportunities
Despite having more limited access to legislators due to the late-scheduled Sovereignty Day, advocates made the most of our day by:
- Holding over thirty meetings with legislators on a day when access was extraordinarily limited
- Getting three additional House representatives to sign our bills.
- Leaving over 200 messages with senators and representatives
- Delivering nearly 500 letters to Governor Walz
- Engaging Gov. Walz’s key aging policy advisors in a nearly 60-minute visit with almost 50 advocates
Didn’t attend? It’s not too late to add your voice
The Governor didn’t prioritize seniors and their caregivers in his budget, so we need legislators to do their part. They live in your communities. Some of them have family in your buildings. Now is the time to remind your state representative and state senator that seniors and their caregivers can’t wait any longer for their leadership. Take action now.