Protect the newborn hearing screening program
by allowing data that is collected at birth to be saved for longer than two years. A 2012 law requires all newborn screening data to be destroyed after two years. This puts the tracking system at risk and federal funding for staff that do the work-we need to track where we are doing well and how we can improve. Newborn hearing screening data should be saved until the age of 18 so progress can be measured over time.
Extend the term of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Committee. The committee sunsets in June 2013- it needs to continue its work. They help to monitor the whole early hearing detection and intervention system and make sure that all children are screened at birth and those families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing get the information and supports they need so their babies can thrive.
Increase funds for Deaf Mentors of children (0-6) who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing.
Deaf Mentors provide visual communication instruction to families in their homes with babies who are born deaf or hard of hearing. There has been a successful pilot in Minnesota for five years and it needs to be offered to all parents who request the service so children can achieve typical developmental norms.
Increase funds for Parent Guides for children birth to six who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. There has been a 47% increase in demand for the services of Parent Guides. Parent Guides are the first point of contact for families with babies who are newly identified with hearing loss. They provide support and unbiased information on education and communication. The hearing screening mandate was passed in 2007. More children have been identified and need this vital support.
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Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Restore continuing education credit requirements in ASL, deaf culture and hearing loss.
A mistake was made in a 2012 when state rules for teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing were being updated. The requirement that teachers of the d/hh take ASL or Deaf Culture classes as part of their continuing education requirements ended. This bill reinstates 30 credits of continuing education credit in ASL and deaf culture
Support the Governor’s recommendation of an increase of $125 million in special education to schools and charter schools.
Support Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
$85k for a kitchen upgrade (it hasn’t been redone since 1924) and
HF390 Fritz, Bly
SF495 Jensen, Hoffman
$800K will develop architectural plans for a new dorm and center.
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Return to dedicated funds for employment supports for transition-aged individuals who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing.
We need programs that provide communication support to increase employment. The funding for MEC and VECTOR, two of the state’s deaf, hard of hearing deafblind employment programs, is at risk. Other disability groups have dedicated employment funding- we need dedicated employment funds for youth and adults who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. Cost: $360K for VECTOR and $300K for MEC. Request of additional $100K to make the program statewide.
Support new pilot employment program for youth transition services: Senator Tomassoni has agreed to sponsor this legislation. It will help give students statewide access to transition services only available in the Metro area. Cost: $50K
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Continue funding for accessible state websites and state online content
Continue to fund the Legislative Coordinating Commission’s captioning of web broadcasts of House and Floor sessions at the legislature. Cost=$100K Training funds for state employees to make all web content accessible. Cost= $50K Two staff positions to the Office of Enterprise Technology to make sure that all state websites, videos and documents are accessible for people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. Cost= $290K
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Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans
Increase funds for the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans.
Additional funds are needed for MNCDHH to participate in major policy changes that are happening in health care reform, employment, broadband and education that will lead to better outcomes for children, more employment, and more accountability. Over the past ten years the commission has worked with the community to pass over 40 bills that increase accountability, increased civic engagement and increase access to public services. The current budget of $365K covers the cost of 3 employees plus the cost of overhead, interpreters CART and other accommodations. They would like to add four staff plus the cost of interpreters and other accommodations. Cost: $500K
This bill makes Minnesota law conform to the ADA. It eliminates the requirement that owners of service animals carry papers that demonstrate that their dog graduated from a recognized training program.
Support the Governor’s budget and keep existing programs that are vital to people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing: Adult Basic Education offered in ASL and for people who are hard of hearing; the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division, mental health grants, funds for Intervenors for deafblind children and Support Service Providers for people who are deafblind.
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