Legislative Updates

Summaries of the 2016 Minnesota Legislative Session



ABLE Act Allows Disability Savings Account

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law by President Obama on December 19, 2014.  Under the new law, people with disabilities can open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for government programs.  The National Disability Institute says the ABLE Act is a major victory for persons with disabilities and their families. Learn details on how to open an ABLE account in an article in Disability ScoopAutism Speaks discusses the new law, including a link explaining how ABLE accounts will work.  Read about the history of the bill and the impact on persons with disabilities in an article in The Washington Post.


A little history:  In 1999, the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation of people with disabilities is illegal.  This "Olmstead Decision" said people with disabilities are best served alongside everyone else, and must be integrated in the community as much as possible, with supports necessary.  So, Minnesota has now made a plan -- the Olmstead Plan -- to increase community integration for its citizens with disabilities.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has compiled a user-friendly guide to understanding Minnesota's Olmstead Plan.  The new law will move the state forward, towards greater integration and inclusion for people with disabilities.  The plan's goal is this:  Minnesota will be a place where people with disabilities are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. Take a quiz at the end of the guide to test your knowledge about Minnesota's Olmstead Plan!

Visit With Elected Officials - March 29, 2014

ConnectWC provides legislative forums to build respectful and sustainable relationships between parents, advocates and self advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their elected officials for the purpose of promoting effective policy for, by, and with people with I/DD.

On Saturday, March 29, 2014, ConnectWC in partnership with The Arc Greater Twin Cities hosted A Visit With Your Elected Officials event at Family Means in Stillwater, Minnesota, to educate our legislators about disability issues. Elected officials invited to attend included: Senator Chuck Wiger, Representative Peter Fisher, Senator Susan Kent, Representative Andrea Kieffer, Representative JoAnn Ward, Senator Karin Housely, Representative Bob Dettmer and Representative Kathy Lohmer.

We want to thank Senator Chuck Wiger, Representative Peter Fisher and Representative Bob Dettmer for dedicating time to our event while they were in the middle of a busy legislative session. These elected officials, parents and self advocates came together to discuss things that are working and are not working for individuals with I/DD in Washington County and The Arc Minnesota's 2014 legislative priorities.