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Letter to the editor: People with disabilities losing out

To the editor:

What are the consequences of the Legislature not following the constitution's provision that requires single subject bills? State leaders threw everything together in a ridiculous thousand-page Omnibus bill at the last-minute including many worthy provisions that would have passed as standalone bills. One consequence of this failure is a drastic cut to funding for persons with disabilities. At a time when there is a severe shortage of staff to care for persons with disabilities and the elderly the state of Minnesota has cut rates paid to providers by 7 percent. Over 30,000 Minnesotans with disabilities are impacted by these rate cuts that went into effect July 1. As a result, provider agencies are struggling not only to keep qualified staff, but some may even go out of business.

This is moving us in exactly the wrong direction. Consequently people will end up in more expensive nursing homes or residential settings. Such a result would violate the Supreme Court's Olmsted decision, which requires states to provide community-based options for those who do not wish to live in institutions. This election season candidates will be asking for your support. Ask them where they stand on following the constitution's single-subject requirement and also on supporting funding for persons with disabilities. The lives of your neighbors, friends and even family members are at stake.

Randall Bachman