Today, I head to Joliet to meet with advocates about The Arc. Tomorrow, I head to
Evanston to meet with the House Human Services Chairperson Rep Gable. On Friday,
it’s Chicago to meeting with Senate Appropriations Chairperson Steans. Both of these
meetings will cover budget, wage and rebalancing issues.
Major Events Last Week
Budget & Appropriations – House Passes 2015 Budget That Would Drastically
Cut Disability Spending
On April 10, the House passed the Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2015 by a vote
of 219 to 205. The proposed budget, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul
Ryan (R-WI) the previous week, sets federal spending and revenue priorities for the
next decade. The budget calls for reducing spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years and
cutting individual and corporate taxes. Below is a summary of key disability-related
Block grants the Medicaid program and cuts federal spending for the programs by $810
Privatizes Medicare by turning it into a voucher program.
Reduces spending for non-defense discretionary programs to pre-2008 levels and
freezes it there for five years. Many important disability-related programs fall under this
category, such as housing, education, employment, protection and advocacy, and
Repeals the Affordable Care Act.
Calls for a bipartisan process to develop reforms for Social Security.The Senate is not
expected to take up the measure.
Civil Rights / Americans with Disabilities Act / Olmstead – Department of Justice
Enters Statewide Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island
The Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into the first statewide settlement agreement with the state of Rhode Island on behalf of people who are “unnecessarily segregated in
sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.” DOJ found that the state’s day
activity service system over-relied on segregated settings to the exclusion of integrated
alternatives in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Under the settlement agreement, approximately 3,250 individuals with intellectual and
developmental disabilities (I/DD) will have the opportunity to obtain integrated
employment that pays at least minimum wage or participate in non-work activities in the
community. The consent decree will require the state to provide supported
employment services over the next 10 years to about 2,000 people, including 700 in
sheltered workshops, 950 people in facility-based non-work programs, and about 300
leaving high school. Rhode Island also will provide transition services, such as trial work
experiences, job site visits, and supported employment to 1,250 students between the
ages of 14 and 21. After having experiences in competitive employment settings,
individuals who choose to remain at sheltered workshops may do so.
DOJ estimates that about 450,000 individuals with I/DD are in sheltered workshops
nationwide. The Rhode Island settlement provides a “road map” for other states to
comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Disability Policy Seminar – Advocates Gather For The 38th Annual Disability Policy
The 38th annual Disability Policy Seminar (DPS), held last week, proved to be the largest
one ever with more than 700 registered participants. The opening plenary featured
special guest former Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and an engaging panel of staff leaders
from the Bipartisan Policy Center, moderated by former Congressman Tony Coelho (D-CA).
In the evening, attendees were inspired by a speech by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) that
included a rousing call to advocate for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities.
The Seminar included a packed two days of panels on issues affecting people with
disabilities, concluding with the all-important Hill visits with Members of Congress. This
annual event is co-sponsored by The Arc, the American Association on Intellectual and
Developmental Disabilities, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Self-Advocates Becoming
Empowered, and United Cerebral Palsy. The co-sponsors were also joined by the Sibling
Leadership Network as a promotional partner. Next year, DPS will take place on April
13-15 and the hope is to increase advocacy and set a new attendance record.
Civil Rights / Education – Legislation Introduced to Ensure Charter Schools Enroll
and Retain Students With Disabilities
Representatives John Kline (R-MN) and George Miller (D-CA) introduced H.R. 10, the
Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, which would help ensure
that Charter Schools enroll and retain students with disabilities. The bill would require
states to ensure that charter schools can meet the needs of students with disabilities and
meet their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and
Section 504. The Arc joined other organizations in supporting H.R. 10.
Deadline for Marchand fall 2014 internship application extended – New deadline is May 1
For 38 years, Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advocate and recognized
leader working on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
and the entire disability community. Upon his retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial
contributions from United Cerebral Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom
Paul worked during his decades in Washington, established an internship to honor Paul
and to continue to cultivate disability policy advocates. The Paul Marchand Internship
Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or summer session to assist interns pursuing
careers in public policy advocacy for people with I/DD. See Application information and
Internship FAQs for more information.
Transportation – Opportunity to Provide Your Feedback During An Online
Dialogue on FTA’s Section 5310 Performance Measures
This is the last week to offer your feedback on the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA)
Section 5310 Measures through an open dialogue hosted by Easter Seals Project Action
(ESPA). The Section 5310 program is intended to enhance mobility for seniors and
persons with disabilities by providing funds for programs to serve the special needs of
transit-dependent populations beyond traditional public transportation services and
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary para-transit services.
Participants can discuss:
What performance measures reflect the benefits of the Section 5310 program
Top ways Section 5310 funding can be used to meet transportation needs
The extent to which your agency will be able to collect data
FTA is considering combining the reporting requirements of Section 5335(c) into a
single requirement for recipients of Section 5310. The method will utilize the National
Transit Database (NTD) system for recipients of Section 5310, Section 5311, or Section
5307 to report on behalf of their sub recipients.You can share your thoughts on specific
questions,post your own questions, or vote on ideas through this online dialogue. To
register, visit the ESPA websi te.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423