Short week at the Capitol, ARRM's bill continue to receive hearings

By Sara Grafstrom posted 28 days ago


It was a short week at the Capitol, with the legislature closing Wednesday through Friday in preparation for the impending snowstorm. Despite only two working days, ARRM had four bills heard from our legislative agenda and supported an amendment added to the Paid Family Leave bill in the Senate.

Paid Family Leave (HF 2/SF 2)

On Monday, the Senate Human Services Committee heard testimony from Medicaid reimbursed provider organizations including ARRM, MOHR, The Long Term Care Imperative and SEIU members. Ken Bence, ARRM’s Director of Research, Analysis and Policy as well as Phil Griffin provided testimony on behalf of ARRM. At the end of the hearing, the A55 amendment was adopted. This amendment directs the commissioner of human services to increase the medical assistance reimbursement rates of any employer that employs direct care workers by an amount sufficient to cover 100 percent of the employer premiums related to the Paid Family Leave requirement. The amendment also specifies that employers that have their premiums covered may not deduct any amount of annual premiums from the wages of a direct care worker. You can view the full amendment language here. This amendment has only been added to the Senate language, we will continue to work with House leadership, as well as Senate leaders as the proposal continues to move through the legislative process.

ARRM’s Legislative Agenda Update

Monday and Tuesday saw multiple hearings on ARRM’s legislative priorities. Below is a quick rundown of what was heard and what the current status is:

·       ARRM’s ICS legislation received its first hearing in the House Human Service Policy Committee on Monday. Ken Bence presented the bill along with Joe Peterson from Opportunity Partners, Josh Berg of Accessible Space, Patti Armstrong, a nurse with Accessible Space and Zach Johnson, a Board member and resident at Accessible Space. The bill was passed out of committee and referred to the Human Service Finance Committee.

·       ARRM’s AOST Language received a hearing in the House Human Service Finance Committee on Tuesday. I presented the bill along with our chief author, the bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus bill.

·       Our Own Home/IHST Language also received a hearing on Tuesday in the Human Service Finance committee. Self-Advocate, Jason Blomquist spoke to the importance of shared services in his life. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Human Service Omnibus Bill.

·       ARRM’s Workforce Grant legislation was also heard in the Human Service Finance Committee on Tuesday. I presented the bill along with Tom Gillespie of Living Well Disability Services. The bill contains language that would appropriate a grant to DEED to create a Public Awareness Campaign for the caring professions, because of the interaction with DEED the bill needs to be heard in the Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee, the bill was referred to this committee and we are awaiting a hearing.

Looking Ahead

This coming week we anticipate the updated February forecast to be released. Following the release of the forecast, the Governor will release his supplemental budget recommendations. As soon as we have more information on both the updated forecast and the supplemental budget we will update ARRM members.

Please reach out with any questions.

--Sara Grafstrom, Director of State and Federal Policy