Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Bill seeks to promote self-advocacy for people with intellectual, developmental disabilities

Do as you’re told and we won’t have any problems.

Most would reject such control over their lives and opt to make their own decisions.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are no different.

Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano) sponsors HF1466 that would fund self-advocacy grants for two organizations governed by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

One would appropriate $436,000 during the 2024-25 biennium to maintain and promote self-advocacy services and support throughout the state. The other would appropriate $210,000 over the same span for educational outreach about community options to people working and living in institutional settings.

With no audible dissent, the House Human Services Policy Committee approved the bill Monday. Its next stop is the House Human Services Finance Committee.

The self-advocacy movement began in the 1960s and primarily focuses on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities speaking up for themselves and others, making their own choices and controlling their own lives.

McDonald said the bill would help people with disabilities integrate into society through community inclusion led by self-advocacy groups. They can then choose things like where and how they live, as well as where they work and socialize.

Grant funding from the Department of Human Services would be used to deliver peer-led skill training sessions in six regions across the state. Topics explaining community service options include housing, employment and transportation.

Without such self-advocacy knowledge, many people with a disability are simply unaware of their rights.

The ACT Center for Disability Leadership works to bridge the gap between what rights people have and the rights they know about, said Executive Director Mary Kay Kennedy.

Cynthia Gayles, a board member and former participant, said once she started taking classes through the organization, she learned that people with a disability have rights and can live the way they want.

As Gayles engaged in the program, she not only discovered how to speak up and advocate for herself, but also felt a boost in her self-esteem.

“Without these classes, without these teachings, I would never have this type of opportunity to be here, to be able to speak here in front of the committee today,” said Shaunte Martin, another board member.

Rep. Kim Hicks (DFL-Rochester) added that whenever people are empowered to move to a less restrictive setting, it is good for both them and the state’s taxpayers.

Related Articles

Priority Dailies

Ways and Means Committee OKs proposed $512 million supplemental budget on party-line vote
(House Photography file photo) Meeting more needs or fiscal irresponsibility is one way to sum up the differences among the two parties on a supplemental spending package a year after a $72 billion state budg...
Minnesota’s projected budget surplus balloons to $3.7 billion, but fiscal pressure still looms
(House Photography file photo) Just as Minnesota has experienced a warmer winter than usual, so has the state’s budget outlook warmed over the past few months. On Thursday, Minnesota Management and Budget...

Minnesota House on Twitter