We wish to say thank you to your recommendations for possible new disability
legislation. We had more recommendations this year than we could have possibly
imagined. Thank you!

In addition to the initiatives below, we will continue to monitor new disability
legislation as it is introduced.

The Arc’s Legislative Agenda for 2015 will include, but not be limited to,
the following:

Budget & Revenue 

This is an ongoing processing each year. The Arc supports the extension of the
state’s income tax.


We continue to advocate for an end to the waiting list, closure of State
developmental centers, implementation of the Ligas Consent Decree and the
transition of people into the community.

Care Campaign

The Arc will continue advocate for increasing the wages and benefits of Direct
Care Professionals with the Care Campaign.

Criminal System and People with ID/DD 

We will work on legislation dealing with the treatment of persons with DD and ID
in the corrections and criminal justice systems and police training.  We are
considering the creation of a task force as a first step to working with various
stakeholders such as States Attorneys, Public Defenders, Judges, Sheriffs, and
DHS.  We are talking with the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission about
working on this jointly.  The Dept. of Human Services is also looking into its forensic
placement practices.  Director Casey is also helping to gather some information from
other DD Directors around the country about this issue since it does not just happen

Employment First

We will be working with the Governor’s Employment Task Force to implement
Employment First.  We are also considering the new requirements of the Workforce
Innovations law recently signed by President Obama. We may consider a bill that
incorporates some of its requirements into Illinois law, especially with respect to
preparation of youth for integrated competitive employment.

Down Syndrome 

We agreed to work on a bill with the Down Syndrome Association to require the
Department of Public Health to provide information for parents and families regarding
Down Syndrome to local health care providers and genetic counselors.
Massachusetts and a couple of other states have similar laws and the bill can be
modeled after them.


There are some issues regarding the way PUNS is administered.  The
Developmental Disability Council is taking the lead on this.  This is one issue.  The
other issue has to do with persons being wrongly found ineligible for Medicaid and
consequently being denied long-term support services when they are called in off
of the PUNS.  This has to do with the counting of household income under the
MAGI methodology.  Federal regulations say that persons who are SSI eligible do
not come under the MAGI methodology, which means only the individual’s income
should be considered.  We are working along with Health & Disability Advocates
with DHS to correct the Medicaid issue, and we are going to explore a change in
Illinois’ State Medicaid Plan so that anyone found eligible for SSI based on a
disability is automatically eligible for Medicaid.  We are one of a handful of states
that still require a separate application for Medicaid for individuals who are already
eligible for SSI.  This also extends to people eligible for SSDI which makes them
eligible for Medicare but not necessarily Medicaid and they have to wait two years
for Medicare to kick in.

Firearm Operators Identification Card (FOID) Reporting

The Arc needs to reconvene an ad hoc group that met last Spring.  We should also
consider a bill that excludes residential programs for persons with DD and ID from
concealed carry. The reporting requirements are discriminatory and assume that
persons with DD are inherently dangerous, which is a misconception that leads to
discriminatory actions, especially in the areas of housing and employment.

Health Care

We will consider setting up a legislative task force to review the amount of time
individuals with I/DD spending in waiting or emergency rooms in local hospitals. In
addition, we will look into people with I/DD, especially those with a dual diagnosis,
not be accepted to local psychiatric programs in community hospitals and being
shipped to substandard options

Assistive Technology

We will work with the Illinois Assistive Technology Project and the Coleman Institute
on a legislative resolution on the rights of people with cognitive disabilities to
technology and information access.

In addition we will work on national disability advocacy issues with The Arc of the
United States.

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