Public Policy Update: 2022 Legislative Mid Session Report
As we rapidly approach the mid-session break at the Minnesota Legislature, the Wilder Public Policy team continues to stay deeply engaged in elevating our legislative priorities and actively collaborating with external partners and coalitions on work that supports the 2022 Wilder Legislative Agenda.
As an organization rooted in community, we take pride in partnerships that share our mission of providing essential support to individuals and families. Our participants are at the center of everything we do. Our advocacy work at the legislature is grounded in how we can support and advocate for policies that will make life better for our participants and communities.
Here’s an update of the bills we have been working on thus far in the 2022 Minnesota Legislative session:
HF3418/SF3406 - Mental Health and Workforce
This bill would make mental health professionals eligible for loan forgiveness under the Health Professional Education Loan Forgiveness Program. It would also create a mental health provider supervision grant program and establish a mental health professional scholarship grant program. A healthy workforce allows our participants to receive the highest quality care possible.
Wilder Action: This is a lead item in Wilder's Legislative Agenda. We have offered oral and written testimony to the relevant legislative committees and are partnering with NAMI MN to advocate for passage. As a leading organization in the area of mental health and wellness, we strongly support initiatives that would address the critical workforce crisis in the area of mental health!
HF3215/SF3884 - Mental Health and Workforce
A bill to create and fund a community mental health program workforce relief emergency grant. Wilder is committed to ensuring the passionate and talented individuals who make up the mental health workforce have a sustainable system to operate in so that they can continue serving our clients and communities. This bill would go a long way in offering much-needed relief so that Minnesota can create the sustainable and effective mental health care system it deserves.
Wilder Action: Wilder has worked to support this legislation through the committee process by providing letters of support and oral testimony. Wilder’s vice president of Community Mental Health & Wellness provided a powerful plea for investment to state lawmakers and we are happy to report that the bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Health Finance & Policy Omnibus Bill with bipartisan support. The Public Policy team will provide more updates on the status of the bill in our next update.
HF3979/SF4267 - Mental Health & Education Policy
This bill authorizes mental health support grants for Level 4 Special Education sites. This legislation is critical as it ensures that programs like Wilder’s Therapeutic Teaching Model are resourced and are able to continue supporting wellness in our communities.
Wilder Action: In partnership with Minnesota Intermediate School District 287, we provided written testimony to supplement powerful oral testimony by Superintendent Sandy Lewandoski, who spoke on the urgent need to invest in Level 4 Special Education sites. Wilder will continue to support the bill as it makes its way through the committee process in both chambers.
HF3404/SF3362 - Mental Health
This bill clarifies supports and definitions of intensive treatment in foster care and provides direction to the Commissioner of Human Services to seek additional federal funds to increase services. This legislation also expands the medical assistance benefit for intensive treatment in foster care services for children who reside with their families. Wilder believes these changes are necessary to best serve our community and ensure that our clients receive the services they require to live happy and healthy lives.
Wilder Action: We provided a letter of support on February 22 and will continue advocating for its passage. This bill has subsequently secured bipartisan support in both chambers.
HF 3738/SF3690 - Mental Health
A bill directing the Commissioner of Human Services to develop a new Medicaid-eligible mental health benefit for children and families.
Wilder Action: A Wilder representative & provider spoke at a press event on February 15 in support of this bill. We continue to advocate for its passage along with partners at AspireMN and the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs. We acknowledge that access to critical services is a human right and understand that increased access not only benefits individuals, but entire communities.
HF 4157/SF3905 - General Healthcare /Healthcare Access & Equity
This bill attempts to bring clarity to the medical assistance and MinnesotaCare disenrollment procedures along with a 12-month continuous medical assistance program. We believe that placing additional administrative burdens upon eligible populations is harmful and reinforces ineffective and problematic systems. Streamlining existing services and dismantling barriers can help all communities thrive.
Wilder Action: Wilder submitted an organizational letter of support alongside LegalAid. Additionally, as a leading member of the This is Medicaid Coalition, Wilder has also secured coalition support and facilitated This Is Medicaid actions in support of the bill. This bill is of particular importance to the communities Wilder serves due to its attempt to bring needed clarity to MinnesotaCare and medical assistance enrollees.
HF835 - Housing / Equitable Access & Fair Treatment
This bill establishes specific notice requirements for evictions due to nonpayment of rent. It also expands eligibility for discretionary and mandatory expungements for eviction case court files, rental discrimination based on a tenant's receipt of public housing assistance prohibited, and public access limited to pending eviction case court actions. Wilder recognizes that community wellness starts at home and will continue supporting this bill through the committee process.
Wilder Action: This is a lead item in Wilder Legislative Agenda. We are advocating for its passage in partnership with the Homes for All Coalition.
HF2695 - Housing / Equitable Access & Fair Treatment
This bill would require a percentage of funds in projects that are funded with housing infrastructure bonds to be used for physically and sensory accessible housing units. Wilder affirms that all of our communities deserve and need investments and is working to ensure that the state’s response to the housing crisis is inclusive and decisive.
Wilder Action: Wilder’s Public Policy team provided a letter of support from Wilder VP Nona Ferguson which called for decisive action and swift passage of this legislation. Wilder will continue working with its partners in the Homes for All Coalition to ensure new housing projects are accessible for all members of our community.
HF443/SF768 - Housing / Building & Preserving Homes
This bill provides funding for grants and preserves loans for NOAH - “Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing.” NOAH refers to residential rental properties that are affordable but are unsubsidized by any federal program. This is important to the communities we serve because rents at NOAH classified properties are relatively low compared to the rest of the housing market. The City of Saint Paul is currently in the midst of a housing crisis due to a years-long backlog of new housing. This legislation would be a direct investment in some of our most vulnerable communities that need housing support. Wilder understands that we must do all we can to ensure affordable and accessible housing. We will continue to call for urgent action in the state legislature.
Wilder Action: We collaborated on a letter of support via the Homes 4 All Coalition and have supported testimony engagements at the Capitol. The House file has been introduced and is sitting in the House Housing Finance Committee awaiting transmission to a relevant committee in the Senate.
HF4225 - Housing / Homelessness Prevention
This bill regulates how cities deal with the removal of homeless encampments. It has language requiring 72-hour notice before removal, protocols for not removing personal property during severe weather, and requirements for the city to offer “impact reduction” services like trash collection, along with certain practices for personal item storage. Wilder believes that all Minnesotans should be treated with dignity and respect and that statutes should reinforce this most basic expectation when necessary.
Wilder Action: Wilder Research provided an overview of the homelessness study to help legislators understand and contextualize homelessness in Minnesota communities. While Wilder Research took no position on this bill, the information provided helped equip legislators with the information they needed to make informed decisions.
The legislative updates above are not an exhaustive list of Wilder’s public policy work or all of our legislative priorities. This posting is meant to give an “at-a-glance” understanding of the work that Wilder is currently engaging in. Wilder also endorses policies that are congruent with our values and mission. If you are interested in getting a policy priority endorsed by Wilder, please contact Wilder’s Director of Public Policy & Community Relations. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, requests, or ideas for engagement on happenings at the Capitol, please do not hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!
Senior Program Associate