May 15th MNCDHH Legislative update

Last week, legislative leaders and the Governor were negotiating back and forth about the budget bills. Then they got frustrated and the legislature stopped negotiating. Instead, they decided just to pass the budget bills they had written, even though the Governor had said that he would veto them. Legislators and the Governor will be negotiating more this week and the legislature will need to pass another version of all of the budget bills. According to the State Constitution, the legislature is required to adjourn by next Monday, May 22nd.

New Accessibility Features at the Capitol

The Minnesota Capitol Building has been undergoing restoration since 2015. The renovation is still ongoing but we were able to return the Capitol in 2017![Screenshot: Changes at the Capitol]
So far, there have been many wonderful changes. For example:
• Increased seating/accessibility features in hearing rooms
• Public, accessible bathrooms on every floor
• Mother’s Room on 1st floor
• New public meeting rooms
• New Visitor Center
• New classroom
• More dining options
• Better WiFi
[Screenshot: New Accessibility Features]
Before there were 3 accessible entrances. Now there are 4. The accessible entrances are:
• South via main entrance at ground level.

MNCDHH Legislative Update

A lot is happening and we have lots of news to share this week. The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans board met in January and added to the legislative agenda, the Governor released his budget proposal this week, and the legislature is already busy hearing and passing bills. Additions to Legislative Agenda
First the additions to the legislative agenda:

The Commission voted to also support three measures related to education and one related to communication access. The three related to education are:

Support funding and infrastructure requests for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
Support increased funding for Deaf ABE (Adult Basic Education) provided in ASL
Require that a student’s need for assistive technology be considered when developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP)
The proposal related to communication access is:

Oppose efforts to weaken laws that require business’s websites to be accessible
Now that the Governor has released his budget proposal, we know that we will support another initiative for vocational rehabilitation:

Eliminate waiting lists for Vocational Rehabilitation Services by requesting $3.5 million a year for a total of $7 million. When we get bill numbers and additional information about these proposals, we will share them with you.

Lobby Day 2017

Save the date! The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans (MNCDHH) is pleased to announce that Lobby Day will be held on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at the Capitol in St. Paul. Lobby Day is a great opportunity for Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and hearing to rally at the Capitol and meet with their legislators. You can share issues that are important to you with your legislators.

Minnesota Employment Center (MEC) is Expanding Services

Transcript: Hello. The Minnesota Employment Center for People who are Deaf, DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing is excited to announce the expansion of their services around the state of Minnesota. Since 1993, MEC has focused on the Twin Cities area to provide job support. The State Legislature has provided funding to expand support around the state. This program is critical as we provide job support to anyone who is deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing in the state.This program provides stability and advancement in the workplace.

Deaf Woman Sues ND Jail, Courts and Police for Discrimination

This is a Press Release. DeafMN is sharing it because it provides important news relating to Deaf civil rights. 
Jamestown, ND – Christine Stein was wrongfully arrested and jailed after calling 9-1-1 to seek help from law enforcement, because she is deaf. To ensure this never happens again, she has filed suit in federal court alleging that the Supreme Court of North Dakota, the North Dakota State Court Administration, the City of Jamestown, Stutsman County, Chief Judge Gerald VanWalle, and Judge Timothy Ottmar discriminated against her on the basis of disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.In a separate, but concurrently filed federal lawsuit, Stein alleges that the City of Jamestown and Officer Brian Davis violated her Constitutional rights in arresting her without probable cause. On May 25, 2015, Stein dialed 9-1-1 through a relay system that uses sign language interpreters and sought assistance with a suicidal man in her apartment. Rather than providing the needed assistance, law enforcement disregarded the suicidal man and instead improperly arrested and jailed Stein.

State of MN seeking more Deaf and hard of hearing employees

Consider Working for the State of Minnesota
The State of Minnesota works hard to ensure that our employees enjoy their career with us. Our philosophy is simple: There are four key elements that make life and work meaningful: Health and wellness, financial well-being, professional development, and work/life balance. Do you currently have a resume on file or are you considering a career with the State of Minnesota? The State of Minnesota would be thrilled to have a larger number of qualified Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing employees. This is why we improved the online application process.

Bobbi Cordano Interview

Interview with the Roberta "Bobbi" Cordano, who has been selected to be the next president of Gallaudet University. Camera work provided by Jules Hill.

MNGUAA talk with Bobbi Cordano

Minnesota Chapter of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (MNGUAA) hosted a  "talk show" event on October 31, 2015 at Wilder Center in Saint Paul, MN. Andrew Oehrlein interviewed Roberta "BOBBI" Cordano who has been selected as the next president of Gallaudet University effective January 1, 2016.