FAMILIES CANNOT BE CARE GIVERS FOREVER

On November 21st the Governor vetoed four bills representing critical issues to people with developmental disabilities and their families. The vetoes were a disappointment but they represent a beginning rather than an ending. With the Governor’s budget proposal due at the end of next month, the vetoes represent an opportunity. We need to reach out to the media, the public and, most importantly, to the Legislature and the Governor. They need to address the exploding crisis faced by families because New York State has effectively stopped developing new supports and services for people with developmental disabilities who are living at home with aging family members.

Mobilize your families to send letters to the Governor,

State Senator and Assemblymember NOW!

MESSAGE:

· Family members must urge their State Senator and Assemblymember to let the Governor know that it is important to their constituents that additional funding for critically needed residential and day supports and services be included in his 2015-2016 Executive Budget.

· Let Governor Cuomo know that there is an exploding crisis. Many families are desperate for day and/or residential supports and services for their loved ones with developmental disabilities.

· Urge Governor Cuomo to include additional funding for these supports and services in his Executive Budget.

Legislators need to hear from their constituents NOW!

They must be reminded that the Governor vetoed four bills that were passed by the legislature without a single negative vote. Family members must tell them that they expect them to continue to support the key issue these bills represent. They need to reach out to the Governor and their leaders and advocate for a budget that addresses supports and services for people living at home. A sample message for legislators is attached and will be posted on the new Engage Action Alert tool on the NYSARC website.

The link below will allow family members, advocates and professionals to send the letters directly from the site to the Governor and their Assemblymember and Senator. They can also sign a petition and share their stories. Talking points and other background material is also available and may be helpful to those who want to write their own letters.

Finally a sample letter to the editor is available. Local press contact whether by letter, editorial or news story is extremely important.

Click http://cqrcengage.com/nysarc/Hom to send emails to the Governor, your Senator and Assemblymember.

Remember to click the link and sign the petition to Governor Cuomo!

We need to start influencing the Governor’s budget proposal – now expected out about January 27th – and to continue influencing the budget until it is passed.

Action requested: Integrated Employment/safety net bill (A8873/S6640)

From: Ben Golden
> Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 9:58 AM
> To: Executive Directors
> Cc: John Kemmer; Marc Brandt
> Subject: Action requested: Integrated Employment/safety net bill (A8873/S6640)
>
> TO: Chapters concerned with workshops, especially chapters with Assembly Democrats
>
> NYSARC initiated legislation to create an array of integrated employment options with tax credits and key transportation reforms.
>
> Under Senator Cathy Young’s leadership, the Senate is advancing almost the entire bill as part of the final state budget. So far the Assembly is not doing that. The final bill is now being negotiated.
>
> Chapters interested in this initiative should call their Assemblyperson, especially Assembly Democrats, and ask their Assemblyperson to contact Assembly Mental Health Chair Aileen Gunther. Have them tell Gunther to make sure that the Assembly concurs with the Senate and includes the provisions of the bill in the final budget.
>
> Assemblywoman Gunther should be interested in doing this since she is the Assembly co-sponsor. Have your Assemblyperson remind her of that. The bill numbers are S6640 by Senator Young and A8873 by Gunther.
>
> Any questions, please call.
>
> Thanks
>
> Ben Golden
> Director of Governmental Affairs
> NYSARC, Inc.
> 393 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY
> 12054
> 518-439-8311

Thank the Legislators

Write to your legislator — Thank them for their help in stopping cuts to the OPWDD Budget

Dear Friends,

This week both the Senate and Assembly passed resolutions to include the restoration of funds to the OPWDD Budget this includes $120 million in state funds preventing a reduction for the budgets of private, not for profit providers like Schenectady ARC.

Schenectady ARC, is asking that you thank your legislator for their action. However, the fight for funding is not over. This resolution merely means that both the Senate and Assembly have heard our justification for the restoration of funds. We still need to persuade the Governor of the importance of these funds and the impact the cuts will have.

We thank you for your continued advocacy and support and please share your gratitude with your legislator for the support they have shown.

Senator Hugh T. Farley
188 State Street
Room 711, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2181
Fax: (518) 455-2271
Farley@nysenate.gov
Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk
311 Legislative Office Building
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: 518-455-2470
tkaczyk@nysenate.gov
   
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara
LOB 833
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5197
SantabarbaraA@assembly.state.ny.us
Assemblymember Phil Steck
LOB 819
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5931
SteckP@assembly.state.ny.us
   
Assemblyman James N. Tedisco
LOB 404
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5772
 
   

Time is of the essence. April 1 is the scheduled date for the budget to be passed.

URGENT ACTION — Write to your legislator — Help stop cuts to the OPWDD Budget

URGENT ACTION — Write to your legislator — Help stop cuts to the OPWDD Budget

Dear Friends,

Last week the Governor released his 30-day amendments to the proposed 2013-14 Executive Budget last week. The amendments include a 6% across the board cut to OPWDD voluntary not-for-profit providers effective April 1, 2013. This cut translates into a total of $240 million ($120 million in state funds, $120 million in matching federal funds) that will be reduced from the budgets of private, not for profit providers like Schenectady ARC, if enacted.

For Schenectady ARC, the impact of a 6% cut would be huge. This would equate to a reduction of approximately $1.6 million in revenue each year. We could not absorb such a cut without eliminating jobs and critical supports and services for the vulnerable people who count on us for support. We are working with our parent organization, NYSARC, and other providers to make sure that our legislators know about this proposal and the devastating impact it could have on our agency and on the people who depend on us.

The State Legislature has commenced negotiations on the 2013-14 State Budget and we believe we can make strides to reverse the cut by reaching out to your representatives in the Assembly and the Senate.

YOUR ADVOCACY IS ESSENTIAL!

If you share our concern about the impact of this proposed cut, please reach out to your Member of the State Assembly and Member of the State Senate and ask your Legislators to restore the proposed 6% cut to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ voluntary not-for-profit providers.

PLEASE SEND TWO LETTERS TO ALBANY:

ONE TO YOUR ASSEMBLYMEMBER AND ONE TO YOUR SENATOR

NYSACRA, one of our provider organizations, has drafted suggested language for you to use if you so choose. Please click below for a draft letter to send to your Member of the Assembly and to your Member of the Senate. You may also wish to alter or personalize the letters as you see fit and in your own words. To obtain the contact information for your State Senator and for your State Assemblymember see below.

Please click here for a draft letter to send to your Member of the Assembly

Click here to obtain a draft letter to send to your Member of the Senate

You can also send an letter electronically by clicking this link. Take Action Digitally

Senator Hugh T. Farley’s
188 State Street
Room 711, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2181
Fax: (518) 455-2271
Farley@nysenate.gov
Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk’s
311 Legislative Office Building
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: 518-455-2470
tkaczyk@nysenate.gov
   
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara
LOB 833
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5197
SantabarbaraA@assembly.state.ny.us
Assemblymember Phil Steck
LOB 819
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5931
SteckP@assembly.state.ny.us
   
Assemblyman James N. Tedisco
LOB 404
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-5772
 
   

Time is of the essence. The Governor is pressing the legislature to pass his Executive Budget before the recess at the end of March. Therefore, letters should be sent to State Legislators’ Offices this week and next week. If you do not have time to send a letter, you can also e-mail or telephone your legislator to let them know your feelings about this proposed cut.

Tell OPWDD how it is going

OPWDD is currently reviewing all of the laws, regulations and memorandum that exist across our system and impact our work – and we need your feedback on any changes that you believe are necessary to better meet our mission of enriching the lives of people with developmental disabilities through our four primary goals: home, health, meaningful relationships and activities in the community.

We have set up an online survey, which can be completed anonymously. Upon viewing the link, you will see that one survey is for individuals and advocates, while a second is written for service providers (direct support professionals, clinicians, organization management) and quality improvement staff.

Senator Calls For Emphasis On Integrated Employment

A key senator is looking to shift the expectation for people with intellectual disabilities toward integrated employment rather than sheltered workshops.

During a hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Thursday morning, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he wants policy to move toward what he called “a new cutting edge.”

“In the past the default position for people with intellectual disabilities has been sheltered employment. I want to change that default to integrated, supported employment,” Harkin said at the hearing, which is one in a series he’s conducting this year to address disability employment issues.

The senator, who chairs the committee, was clear that he’s not looking to eliminate sheltered workshops. Rather, Harkin wants to encourage a new mindset, especially as it pertains to young people moving into the workforce for the first time.

“The assumption should be that everyone should be able to be in integrated employment,” Harkin said. “We’re trying to move in that direction.”

Harkin’s comments come less than two months after backlash from some disability advocacy groups led senators to indefinitely postpone consideration of a proposal to alter the rules governing sheltered employment.

Critics of the draft bill said that by attempting to limit who could work in sheltered employment, the proposal in fact gave providers a checklist for placing people in such environments, potentially leading to unintended growth in such programs.

Autism – Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act clears Senate, awaiting signature by President Obama

 

 

In a great victory for the disability community, last night the Senate cleared, by voice vote, a bill (

 

HR 2005) to continue funding to educate professionals about proper screening, diagnosis, and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as many other developmental disabilities. It also funds ASD research and surveillance. The bill authorizes $231 million a year from fiscal 2012 through 2014 for these efforts.   See the action alert above to thank the bill’s lead co-sponsors in the House and Senate.