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Advocates working to save funding for disability network efforts

One of the many concerns of disability rights advocates at the state Capitol —  who are battling a whole basketful of potential funding cuts in health and human service programs — is $140,000 for the Self Advocacy Network that has been cut from the Senate version of the supplemental appropriations bill. The House bill retains the SAN funding.

I first learned of this issue in the course of independent contract work I do tracking news of legislative developments for the Minnesota State Council on Disability.

Shamus O’Meara, chair of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, recently sent a letter to Sen. Richard Cohen, advocating reinstatement of the funding, saying the program is a crucial step in helping disabled Minnesotans live “independent lives, be self-sufficient, work and pay taxes.” Cohen is the Finance Committee chair and a member of the conference committee negotiating the final form of the appropriations bill.

The network provides training and education to help disabled people become more active in their communities and improve their living and work situations; it also educates the public about disability issues.

In his letter to Cohen, O’Meara even cites the famous Hubert Humphrey quote that notes that the moral test of government is how it treats those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and people with disabilities.

Rick Cardenas, co-director of the disability rights organization Advocating Change Together, also is urging representatives of the disability lobbying community to push for retaining the funding.

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