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.

Politics As It Happens: Governor Cuomo Approves of Three Abuse Bills, Including Bill Strongly Supported by NYSARC

Three bills dealing with abuse, proposed and passed by the Legislature during the close of the legislative session, were approved by the Governor. The Governor released his formal approvals this afternoon. One bill – A.8322 below – moves the Developmental Center Ombudsman from the jurisdiction of OPWDD to the Commission on the Quality of Care and Advocacy for People with Disabilities. For many years NYSARC strongly supported such a move to give the Ombudsman – initiated in the Legislature by NYSARC about 20 years ago – a critical measure of independence which it had been lacking. The three bills include:

1) Signed as CHAPTER 542 – A.8322 Schroeder — Relates to designating the ombudsman as an employee of the commissioner on quality of care and advocacy for persons with disabilities.

2) Signed as CHAPTER 558 – S.5795 MCDONALD — Relates to reporting of serious crimes at mental hygiene facilities within 24 hours. The bill appears to be limited to State operated programs.

3) Signed as CHAPTER 588 – S.5793 MCDONALD — Relates to providing notice of abuse investigations at mental hygiene agencies. The bill would continue an investigation even in the event that an individual under investigation for abuse resigns. The bill appears to be limited to State operated programs.

Call for action to protect Medicaid from significant cuts

It’s absolutely critical that we do everything possible this week to tell Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) by making cuts to Medicaid, a program that truly is a lifeline for so many.

If you have not contacted your two US Senators and House Member, please do so promptly.

 Phone calls are the most effective means to do this, and it only takes a couple of minutes per call.

Once you have made you own calls, we urge you to spread the word to your network of friends, relatives and other connections:

 

  • Email contacts:
    Who do you know who might make calls to their federal legislators to protect Medicaid if you asked them? Think about all of your networks, including other friends, family members, leaders of organizations to which you belong, people where you worship, and so on. Send your contacts an email, briefly telling them why protecting Medicaid from devastating cuts is important to your family. Include a link to The Arc’s page that provides background and instructions on calling Congress -

 

 

 

    1. http://capwiz.com/thearc/callalert/index.tt?alertid=50781796 

 

Facebook:

 If you have a Facebook page, please post a status update asking your friends to act to protect Medicaid and link to The Arc’s take action page

Twitter:

Do you Tweet? A short post to your Twitter account can reach all your followers. (Suggested Tweet: Medicaid: a lifeline for people with disabilities. Tell Congress, No to cuts! http://bit.ly/qJ2646 

Blogs:

If you blog, The Arc has a model posting that you may use for inspiration (and add your own voice, if you’d like) and post to spread the word to your blog audience.

Spread the word even further:

Finally, ask your friends who use Facebook, Twitter and who blog to share this message with their friends, followers and blog audiences, too. This can spread the word even morefar and wide!

 Thanks for your effort and persistence!

Help Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers

Governor Cuomo believes that ensuring the safety of people in need is an important responsibility of state government.

To that end, the Governor is working hard to strengthen the state’s systems of protection for vulnerable New Yorkers in residential care settings.

As part of that effort the Governor has launched a website to give New Yorkers an opportunity to shape an effective system of safeguards in our state.

Click here to submit your suggestions and evaluations of state programs related to developmental disabilities, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, children, and the elderly.

Your input and recommendations will allow us to help those who need it most.

Governor Cuomos Facebook Page

The House 2012 Federal Spending Plan is Devastating for People with Disabilities and Will NOT Reduce the Deficit

Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his Fiscal Year 2012 spending plan (known as a budget resolution).  This plan pulls the plug on people with disabilities, seniors, students, and the middle class to pay for tax cuts for millionaires by targeting:
Medicaid  Cuts

$1.4 trillion over 10 years, reducing federal support by about 33%.  Converts it to a block grant program
 
Medicare  

Replaces Medicare with a voucher program
 
Discretionary Programs
 Eliminates most federal government programs outside of health care, Social Security, and defense over time as the cuts are so deep.
 
Health Care Reform
 Repeals and defunds the Affordable Care Act.
 

The $4.3 trillion from all of those cuts will be used to provide $4.2 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years.  Very little money will go towards deficit reduction.

What Would these Changes Mean for People with Disabilities?

There would be no guarantee of services.  People with disabilities could be denied:

•health insurance coverage
•home and community based services
•supportive housing
•job training
•education
•transportation
•and much, much more

Worse yet, states could return to the days where they “warehoused” people with disabilities in institutions to save money.  This would be cheaper under the Ryan plan since states will no longer have to meet the quality standards currently imposed by the Medicaid program for institutions.  And waiting lists for home and community based services would grow much longer. 
What Can I Do?

The House of Representatives will vote on the Ryan budget plan this Friday, April 15.  We must let them know that this plan is just plain wrong for America.  Let’s make some noise!

Please call your Representative this week.  Call toll free: 1-866-922-4970.  If the line is busy, please enter your zip code in the “call now” box to obtain the District Office phone number.
What should I Say?
•I am a person with a disability or parent/caregiver of a person with a disability.  (Briefly describe your situation, if you like.)
•The Ryan budget plan will take funding from people with disabilities to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  And it does almost nothing to reduce the federal deficit.
•A Medicaid block grant would be devastating for me/my family member.
•Please vote against the Ryan budget proposal.

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