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Human services policy bill advances in House

More than one person wept when the House Human Services Policy Committee voted on its multi-faceted policy bill Wednesday.

At debate was whether the longstanding practice of paying individuals with a disability a wage less than the state minimum should be abolished.

Those favoring the abolition testified that the “subminimum wage" creates inequities and prevents people from reaching a higher earning potential. Those who disagree said the program allows individuals to earn money and have a purpose where otherwise they would be unable to perform a minimum-wage job.

“She’d come home and tell me, ‘Mom, this isn’t fair,'” said Beth Davis, pausing periodically to catch her breath between tears while Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood), the bill sponsor, placed his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.

Davis said her daughter did piecemeal work at a factory that did not allow her child to visit the bathroom more than twice each day.

The committee approved HF4392, as amended, and referred it to the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would abolish the subminimum wage program.

It would also:

  • exempt certain licensed facilities from local government rental licensing regulations;
  • modify home and community-based service standards provisions;
  • clarify the use of forms for home- and community-based waiver services, modify remote reassessment requirements for personal care assistants and the Community First Services and Supports program, and align language for the latter with federal requirements;
  • modify out-of-home respite services for children;
  • modify income review and documentation requirements for the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities program;
  • prohibit agencies from including additional processes or requirements that could result in the delay of approval or implementation of technology for people on disability waivers;
  • allow for remote worker training and development services under the Community First Services and Supports program;
  • modernize deaf and hard-of-hearing statutes;
  • modify membership of the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard-of-Hearing;
  • modify counseling on long-term care options;
  • provide for increased transparency in transactions related to nursing home matters and remove a mandated legislative report;
  • make technical corrections to behavioral health provisions;
  • modify behavioral health licensing and eligibility and the paperwork reduction report date;
  • modify take-home dispensing rules for medication in the opioid treatment program;
  • prohibit the classification of recovery peers as independent contractors;
  • modify terminology throughout state statutes governing bloodborne pathogen protocols in secure treatment facilities to apply the requirements to all state-operated treatment facilities;
  • clarify changes to the membership of the Task Force on Priority Admissions to State-Operated Treatment Programs; and
  • remove expired mandated legislative reports from statute.


What’s in the bill?

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or whole into the human services policy bill:

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