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Human services conferees drops subminimum wage prohibition as part of $14 billion agreement

(CORRECTION: The orginal story had Rep. Jeff Backer on the conference committee. It was Rep. Dave Baker.)

REFILED May 18, 2023: Five meetings. One agreement.

Conferees settled disputes on the human services finance bill Wednesday, including removing the prohibition of subminimum wage, and adopted the conference committee report.

Following the 5-1 vote — Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar) cast the negative vote — the report awaits adoption by the House and Senate before going to Gov. Tim Walz.

Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) sponsor HF2847/SF2934* that would appropriate $14.11 billion during the 2024-25 biennium. Of that, $1.35 billion would be new spending.

“This is transformational. It’s going to save lives,” Noor said.

[MORE: View the budget agreement spreadsheet and original House proposal]

Financial provisions

Major new spending includes:

  • $653.7 million for medical assistance;
  • $90 million for long-term workforce incentive grants;
  • $86.66 million for modifying the inflation adjustments to the disability waiver rate system;
  • $46.59 million for disability and elderly waiver homemaker rate alignment; and
  • $10.64 million for a rate floor and annual inflation adjustment to intermediate care facilities for persons with developmental disabilities.

A $14.12 million appropriation that would have eliminated premiums for medical assistance for employed persons with disabilities, was not included; however, premium costs would be kept in place and the asset limit removed.

Other House spending provisions that are lower in the final agreement include:

  • $122.09 million for elderly waiver increases and consumer-directed community supports parity, a $141.92 million decrease;
  • $30 million for long-term care workforce grants for new Americans, previously $10.76 million higher;
  • $23.16 million for phase two of the vulnerable adult act redesign, a $27.04 million drop;
  • $18.16 million for safe recovery sites, $39.55 million below the House offer; and
  • $12.1 million for HIV/AIDS support services funding, half of the original request.

[MORE: Download side-by-side of previous bill language about Disability Services; Aging Services; Health Care; Behavioral Health; Substance Use Disorder; Opioid Prescribing Improvement Program; Department of Direct Care and Treatment; Licensing; Miscellaneous; and Appropriations]

Nursing homes

The DFL-controlled conference committee moved money around for this Republican priority but not in the way they wanted.

Instead of the $20 million House-only appropriation for a nursing facility loan program for financially distressed nursing facilities, the state would spend $100 million onetime. Baker and Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) said they would prefer a grant program or a forgivable loan.

The House also adopted a Senate provision to increase rates for home care nursing, which would cost $22.84 million.

Persons with a disability

After the House conceded to the Senate’s subminimum wage position, the only direct change involving section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act would implement a home- and community-based services reporting requirement.

Additionally, the Department of Human Services would need to establish a statewide technical assistance center to support people with disabilities to achieve meaningful and competitive employment in integrated settings.


Other adopted amendments would:

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