LSAP Plays Central Role in Crafting Landmark Law to Protect Older and Vulnerable Adults

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After nearly two years of tireless work and advocacy, the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP), along with other seniors’ advocates, state agencies, and assisted living providers, crafted landmark legislation that was enacted into law during the 2019 session.  It puts in place strong consumer protections against arbitrary discharges of, and retaliation against, older and vulnerable adults living in assisted living facilities.  It provides for appeals of discharges, and requires extensive planning to ensure necessary moves are conducted seamlessly and residents are transferred to safe and appropriate locations.  It dramatically expands public oversight of the state’s senior care industry by requiring that, beginning in August 2021, Minnesota’s assisted-living facilities must be licensed, as nursing homes currently are. 

"Minnesota is the only state that does not license assisted-living facilities," said Ron Elwood, supervising attorney of the Legal Services Advocacy Project, one of the leaders of a coalition of consumer groups that worked on the 168-page bill. 

The state Department of Health will now engage in an expedited rulemaking process that will add additional regulatory detail to the new comprehensive statute. Read more in the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Pro Bono Lawyers Are National Leaders

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A recent Star Tribune article lauds the dedicated and exemplary work of Minnesota’s pro bono attorneys and explains the activism that led to its strength. Minnesota is leading the country with pro bono stewardship from firms like Faegre Baker Daniels — honored in May by the American Bar Association — Fredrikson & Byron and Dorsey & Whitney, to name a few.

”In 2017, 928 Minnesota lawyers contributed 50 or more hours of pro bono work — more than 106,000 hours,” said Steve Marchese, public service director of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

That spirit of volunteerism and commitment to justice for all is also at the core of the pro bono work being done by Volunteer Lawyers Network, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and the Advocates for Human Rights.

“Our mission is to protect and promote the basic human needs of people in poverty through the power of legal volunteers,” said VLN’s executive director Thomas Walsh.

Read the full article: Minnesota lawyers' dedication to pro bono work has made the state a national leader.

SMRLS' Executive Director Interviewed in Bench & Bar

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In a brief and insightful interview with Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Jessie Nicholson, chief executive officer of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), talks about her decision to pursue a legal career and the youthful inspiration that still influences her today. Read Meet Jessie Nicholson: ‘Never forget where you came from.

MMLA's Executive Director Weighs In On Eviction Prevention

Drew Schaffer, executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, recently participated in an experts forum on the quandary of how to address evictions and what is being done to prevent them. The panel discussion was convened last month by Minnesota Lawyer Magazine and along with Schaffer, the stakeholders included Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, John Guthmann, Second Judicial District Judge, Brittany Lewis, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, Colleen Ebinger, Family Housing Fund, and Joseph Abraham, Pergola Management. More information about each panelist, and their discussion, can be read at Minnesota Lawyer.

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