MSSA has built a legacy of legislative advocacy since 1893.
Our members have worked with MSSA on a wide range of issues.
Hear some of their stories below.

Marcia Milliken: Executive Director, Minnesota Children’s Alliance
Dave Lee: St Louis County Public Health and Human Services
Stan Groff: Past MSSA Legislative Committee Chair and MSSA Public Policy Analyst



Marcia Milliken: Executive Director, Minnesota Children’s Alliance


Describe your bill.
I worked on behalf of the Minnesota Children’s Alliance to change the language of Minnesota Statute 626.558 Multidisciplinary Child Protection Team. This statute established multidisciplinary child protection teams for the purpose of assisting child welfare agencies with consultation around intervention, treatment, and prevention in child protection cases. The original language in the statute did not include Children’s Advocacy Centers in the list of stakeholders who should be included in multidisciplinary child protection teams.

Why was this legislation needed?

The foundation of a Children’s Advocacy Center is a multidisciplinary team consisting of child protection, law enforcement, prosecution, medical, mental health, advocacy and children’s advocacy center staff. They conduct monthly case reviews on open cases and one key component is the ability to share information about the case amongst professionals. Some county attorneys and child protection investigators see Child Advocacy Centers falling under this statute, some don’t, which resulted in inconsistent information sharing throughout counties. Adding Child Advocacy Centers to the list of professionals included in the Child Protection Teams would allow for that consistency. 

How did MSSA support you in the legislative process?

MSSA assisted my agency’s efforts to pass legislation by connecting me with lobbyists and legislators who supported this issue. MSSA provided consultation for my testimony in committee hearings and helped monitor the progress of the bill. 

What advice do you have for other MSSA members who want to participate in legislative advocacy?
MSSA can help members walk through the legislative process and provide helpful advice. Members can take advantage of MSSA’s relationships with lobbyists and legislators. 

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Dave Lee: St Louis County Public Health and Human Services

Describe your bill.
I worked on legislation to provide funding for the TXT4Life program, a text message based suicide prevention program, similar in nature to a crisis hotline that utilizes text messaging.

Why was the legislation needed?
Suicide rates in Minnesota continue to be unacceptably high among all age groups.  The traditional use of “hotlines” has not addressed the evolving methods that many people, especially younger Minnesotans, use to reach out for help.  Middle and high school students rarely used the available 800# from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  The use of text messaging to immediately connect with crisis counselors is yielding much higher use of emergency services.  

How did MSSA support you in the legislative process?

MSSA helped by organizing members to contact legislators with a specific message in support of the bill. I was also able to utilize MSSA’s relationships with lobbyists and legislators to build support for the bill.

What advice do you have for other MSSA members who want to participate in legislative advocacy?

Members can get involved in legislative advocacy by submitting a legislative proposal or participating in Delegate Assembly with MSSA. 

Stan Groff: Past MSSA Legislative Committee Chair and MSSA Public Policy Analyst

Describe your legislative advocacy work with MSSA.

I’ve worked on a variety of legislative issues with MSSA, such as inclusion of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) as Licensed Mental Health professionals, administrative redirection of child support, and elimination of the food support asset test. One of the most memorable issues I worked on was forming the South Country Health Alliance, a county-based purchasing entity in southern Minnesota. Through building collaborations with counties, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and other stakeholders, we were able to secure approval from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to form a health purchasing entity that improves services for low-income Medicaid and public managed care program participants.

In my opinion, the most important work of MSSA’s legislative committee is the oversight function of MSSA’s public policy effort because of the committee’s closeness to the membership. Through my work with the legislative committee, I have had the privilege to work with excellent leadership, our analysts/lobbyist, our delegates and our members.

Why do you think legislative advocacy is important for health and human service professionals?

Public policies have a huge impact on social services as the public pays for much of the services delivered to vulnerable and low-income persons.  Legislators, as representatives of the public, are the key to making possible what MSSA members do everyday and the resources that these professionals access to help their clients.

What advice do you have for other MSSA members who want to participate in legislative advocacy?

MSSA makes it easy for members to get involved in public policy. You can submit a legislative proposal, join the legislative committee, or simply sign up for email updates.