Bipartisan work marred by political games
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Senate met Wednesday for the third special legislative session of the summer, passing bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of Minnesotan’s with disabilities and to provide court alternatives and support for Minnesota’s veterans.
“The legislation we passed Wednesday will make real improvements for the lives of Minnesotans, and show that even under these difficult circumstances, we can find common ground to help assist those in need,” said Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove).
The first bill, SF 1, expands eligibility for the Department of Human Services’ Customized Living Quality Improvement Program, allowing more waiver providers to utilize this program. The change will also allow more providers of disability services to access the program.
“By allowing more providers to take advantage of this program, we can ensure that more Minnesotans in the disability community are receiving high-quality personal care they need,” said Bigham. “This will improve the quality of services these people can receive and will improve their quality of life.”
The second bill, SF 14, provides sentencing guidance to consider service-related trauma and suggest alternatives for veterans that provide treatment and recovery services.
“Our veterans often struggle in the return to civilian life, and the trauma they faced in their service should be taken into account,” said Bigham. “These types of alternatives and interventions have proven to be successful in getting our veterans on the right path, towards steady employment, sobriety, and a reduced risk of recidivism.”
In an unannounced move, Senate Republicans also voted against the confirmation of Nancy Leppick as the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, a role she has served in for the last two years. The unprecedented vote removed the state’s primary administrator responsible for worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was an outrageous highly partisan decision by my colleagues across the aisle, that puts politics above the safety and wellbeing of Minnesota’s workers,” said Bigham. “This vote was nothing more than a petty rebuke of Governor Walz and leaves the department responsible for worker safety without a leader in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.”