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.

Historic MFIP Increase to Take Effect February 2020

Jessica Webster, Legal Services Advocacy Project

Jessica Webster, Legal Services Advocacy Project

For the first time in 33 years, Minnesota’s most vulnerable will see an increase in their Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) benefit. Minnesota was one of 3 states that hadn’t increased its cash assistance benefit to low-income families since 1986 (Oklahoma and Arizona being the others). The historic increase of $100 per month will take effect in February of next year, thanks in part to the long-standing efforts of Jessica Webster and the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP), Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, other community advocates and bipartisan state legislators.

“Minnesota should reform the program with regular cost-of-living adjustments of 1 or 2% so another couple of decades do not pass without an increase,” said Webster, staff attorney with LSAP.

For more about how Minnesota got here and what is sought for the future, read the full article in the Star Tribune: Minnesota's neediest families to see first MFIP cash increase in 33 years.

Legal Services Advocacy Project Works for Fairness at the Legislature

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Each year during the legislative session, the three staff attorneys comprising the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP) meet with Minnesota legislators, participate in committees and work diligently to measure the effects of statutes and administrative laws on the most vulnerable citizens. Their goal is to educate legislators and ensure the law works fairly for all.

In “Legal Services Advocacy Project: A Voice at the Legislature,” LSAP’s unique lobbying efforts are explained and examined with an eye on justice-seeking that is collaborative and draws on the expertise of legal aid colleagues.

“We try to leverage work in coalitions,” says LSAP’s Jessica Webster. “Since there are only three of us, we depend on partnerships to extend our reach.” Read more at Attorney at Law Magazine Minnesota.

Legal Services Advocacy Project Publishes 2018 Session Summaries

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The Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP) has released its annual Session Summaries. These summaries address specific changes to Minnesota law made by the 2018 Legislature in a range of legal areas relevant to low‐income and financially‐fragile Minnesotans, and the attorneys and advocates who serve and represent them.

The summaries are divided by area of substantive law, and contain contact information for the lead LSAP attorney in that area. Read the 2018 Summaries.