Department of Human Services policy bill clears House, moves to Senate

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The Department of Human Services would establish a new council to advise the commissioner on how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities for accessing services, according to a bill passed by the House 111-14 on Friday.

HF975, sponsored by Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka), would establish the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council. The council would be charged with reviewing department policies for racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and tribal disparities. An annual report would be due beginning Nov. 15, 2014 regarding equitable delivery of services.

In addition to forming the council, the bill would:

  • codify in law the department’s practices regarding fair hearings;
  • require full-time human services judges to be licensed Minnesota attorneys; and
  • make technical changes, such as removing obsolete laws.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina) is the sponsor.