Below we have a federal and state update and save the dates!


Tax Bill Update

The Conference committee is working on merging the House and Senate tax cut bills.  Although negotiations could wrap up at any time and a vote taken, we are hearing that we might have a week to advocate and educate about the impact of the bills on people with disabilities.

Action Alert

No time to delay – call your House and Senate members to tell them about all the ways this bill could hurt people with disabilities.  Click here to find your legislators and send a note.  Below is a list of many of the reasons this bill could be back for people with disabilities and families!  If you are in Rep Roskam and Rep Shimkus’ districts, please reach out as they are on the Conference Committee!!

Their contact specifically is:


Why this matters to people with disabilities and their families, allies and providers?

  • Repealing the ACA’s individual mandate will leave hundreds of thousands with disabilities without insurance. Senate bill)
  • Unless Congress intervenes, the tax bill will trigger an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare and other programs that benefit people with disabilities through the “pay-as-you-go” or PAYGO rule (House and Senate bill)
  • The elimination of a tax deduction vital to Americans with high medical costs disproportionately affects Americans with disabilities. (House bill)
  • It eliminates a tax incentive for businesses to hire people with disabilities. (House bill)
  • It eliminates (House bill) or limits (Senate bill) the tax credit to assist with the development of drugs for people with rare diseases.
  • It threatens research into treatments that disproportionately benefit people with disabilities. (House bill)
  • It makes it more costly for small businesses to hire people with disabilities. (House bill)
  • It reduces incentives for charitable giving to organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities.  (House bill)

On top of everything it exposes Medicaid to huge cuts in the future:  Senator Rubio and Speaker Ryan have already talked about looking to entitlement reform next year which translates to block granting Medicaid.  An increase deficit will only fuel the fire for calls for cuts.

Call NOW!  House AND Senate!  Click here.

Wam, Ba, The CR is Done Ma’am –  (from Politico) Just like that, the House and Senate quickly passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday, giving congressional leaders two more weeks to hammer out a broader deal.

“The vast majority of the talks focused on spending levels, and the two parties did not come to a consensus,” according to a Democratic aide, Bres, Sarah Ferris and Nancy Cook report. “Democrats want parity for any defense and non-defense spending boost, while Republicans want to see the Pentagon get the bulk of any spending increase.” The group also talked about a legislative fix for Dreamers. Republicans have said the issue will be addressed early next year. But earlier in the day Pelosi reiterated her position that lawmakers will not leave here in December without a fix.

Senate Republicans passed a two-week government funding bill last night avoiding a government shutdown. Now all eyes are on Dec. 22 and whether President Donald Trump and congressional leadership can come to an agreement.

The Timeline: We hear Republicans want to have their tax bill finished and passed by Dec. 18, 19 or so. That leaves three days to get another government funding bill, which is expected to last sometime into early or mid January. The spending cap deal will also hit the floor that week in December, as well. Aides we talk to are pretty firm that DACA cannot and will not happen this year. But most Republicans seem eager to get that done in early January.


Home and Community Based Services Task Force has met once and plans to meet on Tuesday for the second time.  It was formed through SB84, which mandated a the creation of a year-long task force created to look at how Illinois could utilize federal funding better for HCBS.  A number of committees are being formed to look at other states and a few other identified issues.

Scorecard – the Department of Human Services continues to move forward on creating a CILA Scorecard website to current and future recipients of CILA services and their families might be able to compare and contrast services.  The Arc has given input multiple times and there is an additional meeting next week on this and topics related to reporting OIG findings.  We are working with a coalition to better understand and make recommendations around OIG’s efforts to report to the public about substantiated findings.

PCP – As you might have heard, the Division has developed a timeline for implementing an new policies and procedures guide to PCP.  The Life Choices Work Group 4 will be reviewing it in January with the hope that training will follow.  In the meantime, it is expected that the division will be hosting ISC and service provider meetings.  The Arc has a webinar set up for families January 9 from noon to 1 pm with Kit O’Brien Coda and Andrea Medley as well.

Lawsuit of Springfield’s Group Home Proximity laws –  Justice Department submits its own lawsuit against Springfield’s zoning.  We have invited Charlene Bennett from IAG to speak on our January 3 webinar to talk more about their experience with the initial lawsuit against Springfield.  Springfield demanded that they move a group of three men who had been living together with individual leases with IAG bringing in services.  There was an unpublished group home close to them which broke this proximity law.  IAG sued and the judge put an injunction on Springfield’s requirements.  Last week the Justice Department filed its own lawsuit against Springfield indicating they thought the proximity law was illegal.  This is one to watch!

The Division is as well – from Director Fenton’s DDD Scoop yesterday:  “our Administrative Rule on CILA precludes CILAs owned or leased by an agency and funded by the Department to be located within a distance of 800 feet from any other setting licensed or funded to provide residential services for persons with a developmental disability or mental illness.  Interestingly, when I first questioned the 800-feet rule, I was told that its intent is to prevent a high concentration of CILAs in particular neighborhoods or communities, which would be the antithesis of true community integration.  And while I understand that concern, this rule has always rubbed me the wrong way because I believe that we should be in the business of increasing opportunities for community integration and community inclusion ─ and not limiting them by restricting where people can live ─ regardless of the rationale.  As such, we are working with the DDD Regulatory Advisory Board to eliminate language on distance requirements in our Administrative Rule on CILA. We’ll keep you apprised of our progress.”


Jan 3 – 10-11:30 am Executive Forum Webinar
Jan 9 – Lunchtime Webinar Series – Person Centered Planning
Feb 1-2 – Leadership Conference
Feb 13 – Lunchtime Webinar Series

Have a great weekend!
Meg Cooch Signature

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)