Disability Rights Group Briefly Shuts Down MN Senate

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — With less than two weeks left before the end of the session at the Minnesota Capitol, the budget is still up in the air. On Wednesday, a small group of people with disabilities came to protest the fact that state senators have been talking about a gay marriage ban instead of dollars and cents.

Wearing red T-shirts and waving homemade posters, protesters from a disability rights group called ADAPT shouted at senators debating the gay marriage bill.

Health care budget cuts, they say, will take away everything from their eyeglasses to their personal care attendants, and force some of them out of their homes into nursing homes.

The Senate president ordered the Sergeant at Arms and the State Patrol to forcibly remove the protesters, but it posed a problem: Some were blind and some paraplegic.

Members of the group were not arrested, but they were escorted from the building.

ADAPT has been known to use civil disobedience as a way to draw attention to their issues.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Lucifer

    What a bunch of sorry pathetic loosers. To disabled to work so they aren’t leaches but they sure can make it down to the capital to protest.

    My dad had polio and was in a wheelchair but still managed (with moms help) to get his butt to work everyday until he retired at 65 and started a small business.

    People these days always want something for nothing, always want a better life on the back of someone else, always waiting for their BIG SHIP to arrive full of worthless money.

    • Angry Para

      All I have to say is” Wait until it happens to your family” these are my own words and will live by them until I die. I am a complete/incomplete paraplegic. I have been I a wheelchair for 25 years. How Dare you call the disabled “pathetic losers.” You pretty much just called your father a Pathetic looser too.
      The job market SUCKS for people with disabilities and sometime your disability doesn’t allow you to work. I have done it all for a person in a wheelchair with the use of just my upper body. I, just like most have to scrape by with a minimum wage job the rest of the world did NOT want. I have worked off and on for most of my adult life and at the age of 30 and still working at a dead end minimum wage job because there is nothing else out there that wants to hire a high risk employee (meaning getting hurt on the job). Just because your dad had polio and still managed at life doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that have disabilities want to sit at home, Most want to work. So KNOCK IT OFF! I find you very ignorant for posting this. The people that want something for nothing are the people using the system, that is a whole other subject! Yes we are all entitled our opinion but this is a very touchy subject for most, AND I am one of them. I am still waiting for my BIG SHIP to arrive but geeze, let me know when you are going to open that flood gate so I can be waiting outside to grab ahold when it floats by!
      I am okay for paying for those that CAN NOT WORK but I AM NOT OKAY for those who are playing the system and Yes there are a lot of them out there they are not just disabled ones either!

    • Sam

      I’m glad that you verified that these people were not employed individuals who took the day off, or work the evening shift. It would be a sorry, pathetic person who insulted people just because they took time to ask the Republicans to do what they promised to do when they took over the Senate: Focus on the budget.

    • Grace

      Great for your dad. Although I have a family member that would be greatly impacted by this. He is unable to drive,cook,bathe,etc on his own and needs a PCA to get through the day. The only job he was able to obtain is stuffing envelopes. It provides him with such a sense of self-worth. I myself am a PCA and am at risk, along with thousands of others, of losing my job. It makes no sense to have more people out of work whether they are disabled or not. Lets just send everyone to nursing homes and have the taxpayers foot the bill??? Doesnt make much sense to me.

    • The Man

      Glad you dad is dead…. you sound like a bigot…

  • RedDragon

    You know some of us Disabled people do work for a living. Some got cushy jobs but the rest get the stuff you people don’t want to do; typically those with cognitive/behavioral disabilities. There is more than one way to be disabled, many of which one can’t see with the naked eye because it has no outlying mark like a Wheelchair.

    I myself am Half-Deaf with near complete hearing loss on one side; have ADHD, Asperger’s (yes Adults can have Autistic Spectrum Disorders still from when they are kids; they don’t go away), and Tourette’s Syndrome.

    I work part time for just above minimum wage because the job I have was the only one that would take me? You think the job market is bad for you? Try having what I got and see who will take someone who only looks normal.

    So yeah, would the cuts affect? Hell yes! But I’m probably preaching to a bunch of idiots who would rather judge than understand.

    • Angry Para

      Amen RedDragon!

    • It will hurt but we have too

      @Red Dragon I understand all about being disabled I have RA I am 40yrs old no job no income for myself, my wife has a graet income for that I am lucky. Cuts do need to be made all across the board our State is in bad shape the Federal Goverment is in even worse they spend like their is no tomorrow 4 trillion in 2 years. I have seen alot of abuse in the system like the person who is blind in one eye that get $1100.00 a month + medicare, it comes out of the tax payers pocket! Disabled people need medical coverage but we do need to start cutting back. On the path that we are on we are running out of money fast! When the Economy falls what happens then!you will have nothing.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    You people who are putting down people with disabilities have no idea what these people are saying. They want to remain in their homes, as opposed to going into nursing or group homes and they do want to be productive citizens. A lot of programs such as waivers and PCA’s were cut by the Pawlenty administration. There were major cuts made in their healthcare making basic needs as eyeglasses and dental care unaffordable. They do not want special privileges just the things that people without disabilities take for granted.

  • charles

    My wife is now a quad, we have a monthly spend down of 980 per month through the county, that does no include 700 for me & 2 kids for health care. SSDI does help but county program does not allow her any spending money, leaving me holding all the bills. no more duel income here. If i divorce they put a mom in a home and pay all of it, you tell me how I’m taking all your tax dollars? I struggle to keep her home and not take the easy way out! So this is a important issue with me.

  • Angry Para

    I can not believe how ignorant people are sometimes. I live by these words” Wait until it happens to someone in your family then you will understand”

  • Sam

    Not true.
    Someone who does nothing but post poorly-spelled insults in news articles is worse.

  • Virginia Simson

    I want to THANK Pat for the real attention paid to the ISSUE and the PEOPLE involved in today’s action.

    People are really not aware of how extensive the proposed cuts are (the Repugs are planning a surprise at the end of the session rather than allowing discussion of the line cuts). Only 91 testimonies were given for what are MASSIVE cuts to all sorts of disabled people and the people who care for them. MASSIVE.

    Everyone is ONE accident away from serious disability. While I admit the above example of a working disabled person is truly heroic, some of us CANNOT work. Some would like to work, but the money we get is not to even buy a computer, paper and ink to print a resume (don’t start w/the go to the library stuff either, please) and the cover letters. I am a peer support specialist, they spent thousands training me, but the JOB programs are Cut, cut, cut. What will this state do without crisis lines, friends?

    I was so disabled I could not feed myself, let alone cook, shop, And while in Ontario NO ONE suggested I was burden to be ignored. No one took away my metro mobility access, no one took away someone to help me do dishes, wash my hair (I could not do it) or the appliances I needed to help me be just a bit comfortable. Here in Minnesota, where I am from – already meds I need are not covered, appliances I NEED are not covered, I have not had a raise in income since 1986!! yet inflation marches ever forward .. W/o my electricity support, I would not even be able to eat, and much of what I have to eat is really awful, not truly healthy food. There was no “time” to hear my testimony in the HHS committee ! What AM I supposed to DO? I am 62 and have NO family.

    This is a complex and disheartening issue of cuts coming down the pike – and the disabled and their families and supports really are taking the cruelest cuts of all. Please join me against the cuts while taxes are evaded by the corporations and uber rich on Sunday, May 22ndl, 2 pm @ the Legislature to stand as a conscience against the cruelty of the cuts.

  • llp

    How sad all ofyou are


    GOP is pure evil, plain and simple.

    • Lucifer

      This isn’t about the GOP or the liberal progressive democrats numb-nuts. Most of our politicians from both parties are corrupt and incompetent and should be moved from theri elite offices to a jail cell.

      Both parties have been irresponsible and negligent in their duties and have driven America to bankruptcy. Yes, we are there, today we are broke. Both parties, but especially the democrats, have made lots of promises that they always knew would not be honored. Funny thing is… there are so many Americans that look to the government for everything and they actually believed that they would keep their empty promises. LOL

      Our debt is 14.3 TRILLION. Additionally we have over 50 TRILLION in unfunded entitlements (medicare, social security, disability, public worker pensions and health benefits, etc. Add to this a couple of TRILLION in debt at the local and state level and well I guess you know we are in way over our heads.

      Our government needs to be rebuilt and downsized. Entitlements will be reduced and pensions will be re-written. Everyone will loose something in the process so bone up and take your medicine like a man.

      • Disability Link

        Really? “take your medicine like a man?” You clearly have no idea what some people have to go through. We’re not talking about people losing a few dollars, we’re talking about people losing their FREEDOM. You’ve clearly never been confined to a nursing home or worked with people who have literally been trapped in one. I would suggest that you broaden your worldview, but you’re clearly just trying to provoke a negative reaction. We have a responsibility as a country to take care of all of our citizens and assure that they can live in their communities and not in congregated institutions/nursing homes/facilities. People with disabilities can contribute to their communities but they have to be able to stay in them first.

  • Jean

    Taking care of individuals in their communities IS fiscally responsible. As others have stated, providing less expensive services in people’s homes will save money in the long term. If the only services available are in expensive institutional settings, then families in crisis will not have an option other than taking “All” because they can’t survive with “nothing” or “too little” in the way of support services. I know; my family has made incredible sacrifices for my son to live at home, but if families like mine can’t get sufficient support services for our disabled individual as we age, what choice is there? Does this country want the majority of our disabled to join the mentally ill (who ARE ALSO disabled) who are already among the homeless forgotten?

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