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At the Capitol: Minnesota Lawmakers Prepare to Return for Special Session

On June 9, 2021 by Matt Steele

With Governor Walz expected to call a special session on Monday, lawmakers worked this past week, mostly behind closed doors, to iron out differences in the two-year budget. By Monday, June 7, only three committees--Commerce and Energy, Legacy, and Higher Education--had publicly announced their joint budget agreements. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week:

At the Capitol: First Deadline Passes and Upcoming Special Session

On June 2, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers mainly met in private to debate the specific spending details for each budget area. The first of two self-imposed deadlines passed on Friday, May 28, without any public notice of the finalized details of the budget. The second deadline, June 4, is quickly approaching; lawmakers to agree on what policy provisions will be included in the final deal when Governor Walz calls a special session on June 14. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week:

At the Capitol: Deadlines loom for budget details and the upcoming special session

On May 26, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers are approaching a May 28, self-imposed deadline to decide how to allocate the money announced in the recent budget deal by legislative leaders last Monday. Throughout the week, only one legislative committee met publicly. There have yet to be any specific spending details released by budget area. With a looming special session presumed to happen on or before June 14, here is what you need to know about what is happening at the capitol this week.

Minnesota Legislative Session Ends with Unfinished Business

On May 19, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

The Minnesota Legislature has adjourned the 2021 regular session, hours before the constitutionally required midnight adjournment, without passing a biennial budget. Lawmakers will need a special session to finish the job. For senior care providers, there are several key priorities left unresolved at this time. We are hopeful that legislators will address these in the special session.

At the Capitol: With Days Until Session Adjourns, Most Legislative Work Remains Unfinished

On May 12, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers enter the final stretch of the legislative session before adjourning on May 17 at midnight, regardless of the status of the budget. Most at the Capitol view the Monday deadline as irrelevant given several circumstances that almost guarantee that lawmakers will leave their work unfinished at the end of their constitutionally allotted time.

At the Capitol: The Legislature Begins Conference Committees as the End of Session Nears

On May 5, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers are starting to reconcile the differences in significant budget bills passed off the House and Senate floors in conference committees. Conference committees mark one of the final steps in the budget-making process before the bills are sent to the Governor for his approval. We expect our most important issues to be debated in conference committees in the upcoming days.

LTC Imperative Urges Lawmakers to Address Urgent Assisted Living Issues

On May 5, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

Even as assisted living licensure applications opened last week and state legislators entered their final weeks of the legislative session, there continue to be substantive and technical issues with the assisted living licensure law, jeopardizing the access to needed assisted living services for Minnesota seniors. 

At the Capitol: The Legislature Debates the Health and Human Services Budget Proposals

On April 28, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers are debating the Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus budget bills on the House and Senate floor. The proposals contain most of the policy priorities affecting the senior services sector. Here is what you need to know about each version of the bills and what the next few weeks ahead look like as we approach the end of the legislative session:

At the Capitol: The Legislature Begins Passing Budget Bills

On April 14, 2021 by Matt Steele

This week, lawmakers began passing budget bills off the House and Senate floors. This step establishes starting positions for the House, Senate and Governor as they enter negotiations to reach a final budget deal by May 17. Here is what you need to know about what is happening at the Capitol:

House Includes Proposed Changes to Assisted Living Licensure Laws

On April 7, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

As part of the Minnesota Legislature's budget process, the House of Representatives has included in its Health and Human Services (HHS) omnibus budget bills critical changes to the assisted living licensure law that could significantly disrupt implementation.

Senior Care Proposals Unveiled in House and Senate Budget Bills

On April 7, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

Lawmakers resumed legislative activity this week following a one-week break to observe the Easter and Passover holidays. It is a pivotal week as lawmakers unveil budget bills and will need to pass bills out to their respective committees by Friday. Next week, we expect lawmakers will begin to pass these budget bills off the House and Senate floors, which will set up three-way budget negotiations between the House, Senate and Governor as they attempt to complete their work to pass a balanced budget by May 17.

Draft Bill Circulated on Housing COVID-19 Relief

On March 31, 2021 by Bobbie Guidry

Third Round of Applications for HUD COVID Supplemental Payments Expected

The House Committee on Financial Services is circulating a discussion draft of the Supporting Seniors and Tenants in Subsidized Housing Act. The draft bill is a version of 2020’s Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act introduced in the House (as HR 6873) and Senate (as S 4177). The draft bill is sponsored by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance.

Senate Votes to Extend Sequestration Suspension

On March 31, 2021 by Jeff Bostic

Last Thursday, the US Senate voted to extend the suspension of the 2% sequestration cut for all Medicare services through the end of 2021. Congress initiated sequestration in 2011 to limit Medicare costs by reducing all payments by 2%. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sequestration was suspended for a year by Congress last April 1. The coming expiration of that suspension led to the Congressional activity to extend it further.

Midpoint in the 2021 Legislative Session: What’s Happened and What’s Next

On March 31, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

Minnesota’s 2021 legislative session is at the midpoint, as lawmakers are on break this week in observance of the Easter and Passover holidays. When lawmakers resume legislative activity on April 5, it will be full steam ahead as lawmakers will push to pass budget and policy bills before the legislative session adjourns on May 17.

Missed Week at the Capitol? It’s Not Too Late to Become an Advocate

On March 24, 2021 by Matt Steele

As we approach the midway point of the legislative session, LeadingAge Minnesota members virtually gathered for our largest advocacy event of the year, the Week at the Capitol. LeadingAge Minnesota members met with over 40 lawmakers from around the state, including Senate and House legislative leaders, to make their voices heard and advance important policy initiatives for seniors and their caregivers.

LeadingAge and AHCA Announce Legislative Effort in Response to Pandemic

On March 17, 2021 by Jeff Bostic

On Monday, LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association (AHCA) released a federal legislative proposal designed to allow the nursing home sector to make key changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these issues were evident for years before COVID-19 but were never fully addressed by policymakers. Through the Care For Our Seniors Act, AHCA and LeadingAge are calling on lawmakers once again to help resolve systemic challenges, as well as reflecting on ways nursing home providers themselves can improve.

Senate Committee Advances Second Bill on Fingerprinting and Background Studies

On March 17, 2021 by Jonathan Lips

The Minnesota Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee last week approved a bill that proposes a long-term solution to challenges with the fingerprinting and background study process in Minnesota. Senate File 1257, authored by Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), tackles the issue  of fingerprinting capacity by authorizing the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to contract with up to three fingerprinting providers, rather than a single vendor.

Congress Expected to Send America Rescue Plan to President This Week

On March 10, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

The Senate has finally released the complete version of the American Rescue Plan passed on Saturday, and the bill has now gone to the House. It is expected that the House will vote on that bill today – and passage is expected – so the President can sign the bill into law by the end of the week. Because this legislation will provide the State with additional financial support, we are optimistic that its passage will support our advocacy work at the state level to support a Hero Pay Bonus for all caregivers in congregate care settings during the pandemic. 

At the Capitol: State Prepares for Transition to Phase Two of Vaccine Rollout as Nearly 70% of Minnesota Seniors Get Vaccinated

On March 10, 2021 by Matt Steele

Governor Walz reported on Tuesday that Minnesota has nearly vaccinated 70% of its seniors, weeks ahead of the original deadline of April. In light of this progress, Walz announced that Minnesota will soon transition to Phase Two of vaccine distribution that prioritizes those that are chronically-ill and that qualify as essential workers. Here is what you need to know about what’s happening at the Capitol:

Work to Craft Assisted Living Licensure Technical Legislation Stalls

On March 10, 2021 by Kari Thurlow

Over the past several weeks, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has convened provider, consumer and agency stakeholders in a series of meetings to identify additional changes to the assisted living licensure law in order to pass a bill during the 2021 legislative session. The goal was to reach stakeholder consensus on a set of changes that are critical to the smooth, timely implementation of the assisted living licensure law later this year and work with lawmakers to pass those changes in this legislative session.

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