The Arc’s Public Policy Committee met earlier this week to review and discuss the
many recommendations for possible legislative initiatives. Thank you for sharing
your ideas with us. In addition to the state budget, criminal justice will be an area
we will focus more time on during this session.
The Arc’s Legislative Agenda for 2016 will include, but not be limited to, the
following:Budget & Revenue: This is an ongoing process each year. The Arc supports a
responsible budget including new revenue and an increase in the state’s income
tax. A responsible budget will include resources to support community living and
maintain a stable workforce. Currently The Arc supports Senate Bill 2046 which
is the only budget bill alive.
Rebalancing: 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. Savings on institutional closures
must be redirected into community services.
Care Campaign: The Arc will continue to advocate for increasing 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
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
Health Care: We will continue to oppose Phase III Integrated Care Program,
the managed care of developmental disability services.
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.
Special Education: We are concerned about possible changes in state special
education mandates and special education cuts in Chicago.
Other: In addition, we will work on national disability advocacy issues with The
Arc of the United States.
Arc US CEO
Last week we hosted a meeting with The Arc of the United States CEO Peter
Berns. We had a very productive meeting with Peter on The Arc’s new initiatives
including relationships with Google and ComCast. Obviously we updated Peter
in our continuing budget tragedy here in Illinois and other Illinois disability issues.
Peter also spent some time visiting local chapters of The Arc as well.
Amy Newell, Jennifer Knapp, Peter Berns, Terri Devine & Tony
We also hosted four visitors from Seoul, Korea as part of the International
Friends for the Developmental Disabilities Exchange. Our visitors were very
interested in transitioning individuals out of institutions into community settings.
We had a lively and fascinating discussion. We have common values in the
disability community worldwide. I really enjoyed our time with the delegation.
Tony and the Korean Delegation
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423