State and Federal Update

Here are some of the highlights and calls to action for this week.  For the latest news, check Facebook and Twitter.

Illinois Budget & Governor Shake Up

Illinois Budget Follow Up

Illinois passed a budget July 6.  Here is a brief summary webinar from Everthrive that highlights the scope of the budget including revenue and spending.

Two of the main advocacy points for the Arc of Illinois was around the 75 cent wage increase and funding for DD grants.  The Governor’s staff shake up seems to be slowing down decisions made by the Governor’s Office on Management and Budget and their recommendations to departments about contracts and implementation process.

DSP wage increase:

DHS is currently developing an implementation plan to address key questions about the roll out.  In the BIMP (budget implementation bill), it indicated DHS should implement within 30 days of the legislation, but with the shakeups in leadership in the Governor’s Office, it is unclear how quickly we will get answer.

DD Grants:

The Autism Program, Life Span, Best Buddies, and Epilepsy among others were funded in the budget.  However, as you might know, the Legislature can pass a budget, but the Governor has a lot of power in deciding what funds to spend or not spend and also when to deliver contracts.  We are very concerned that funding that has been allocated do autism and other programs will sit in an account rather than be used to help individuals.

More advocacy might need to be done on both issues.  In addition to funding for DD grants and a 75 cent wage increase, here are some other areas of interest (thanks Phil Milsk, our lobbyist for the info!).

  • Personal assistants in the Home Services Program will receive a wage increase of 48 cents/hour.
  • The Personal Needs Allowance for Medicaid-Eligible residents of ICFDDs, CILA, SMHRFs, and other facilities licensed under the MC/DD Act will be increased to $60/month.
  •  Community based addiction services agencies and certified community mental health  centers will receive rate increases.
  • Medicaid rates for supportive living facilities and SMHRFs increase 2.8%.
  • General State Aid to schools for  FY 2018 must be based on the evidence-based funding model proposed in Senate Bill 1, which is being held in the Senate on a Motion to Reconsider.   The Governor has vowed to veto the bill, and the bill did not pass with a veto proof majority in either house.  In other words, there is currently $0 General State Aid authorized for FY 2018 at this time.

As for other bills that were passed out of the legislature and are sitting on the Governor’s desk including SB84 which creates a task force to look at federal funding for home and community based services, the Governor has yet to act on these items.

Governor Shakes Up Staff

The Governor’s Office since July 10 has seen immense change.  Governor Rauner fired his chief of staff, Richard Goldberg, with Illinois Policy Institute CEO, Kristina Rasmussen, which then followed a mix of announcement about others leaving voluntarily or not.  Changes included deputy chief of staff, communications, body man and policy staff.  Here is a quick summary.  As I stated above, this impacts human services both because it is slowing down the FY18 budget implementation, but also because most of those who are being brought in are not familiar with human services and many are not from Illinois.

Repeal and Replace Dead? Repeal and Replace Later Dead?

Last night, two more Senators, Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) released statements that they could not support the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Their two nos along with Susan Collins R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) meant that BCRA would not be called up to a vote and is dead at this time.  Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) soon after indicated that he would call for a straight repeal with a two year delay in implementation.  Three senators (Collins, Capito (R-WV) and Murkowski (R-AK) immediately moved to say they would not vote for just repeal, thus also blocking this path for Republicans.

We want to thank everyone for there work on this.  We can be happy that these two efforts have been stymied, but there is definitely a sense that the fight over healthcare is not over.  The Trump administration and McConnell have indicated this.

Action:  National Advocates are Still Looking for Medicaid Matters to Me Letter Writing Campaign

We need to stay vigilant regarding the next iteration of healthcare reform and Medicaid cuts.  Therefore, the Arc of the US and the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities are continuing to gather Medicaid Matters to Me letters.  The time is now to take action and tell your Senators why Medicaid Matters to You and Your Family.  Take a few moments and write a brief message about how Medicaid impacts your life. Please send those messages in the body of an email to Nicole Jorwic at The Arc of the United States: PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR STATE IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF THE EMAIL. We will hand deliver all the printed messages to the Senators from your states..

Here is the Arc of the US statement on the need for vigilance to protect Medicaid.  NHELP had a good blog post on what straight repeal would do.

Request for Information

We have received two requests for information:

1) Have you or someone you know with an intellectual or developmental disability had a negative interaction with Chicago police?  If so, would you be willing to share your story?  Email

2) Is there an employer who has a significantly challenging job application process that might create barriers for individuals with disabilities to apply?  Let us know about your or others’ experiences.  Email

Job Opportunity

New Star, located in Chicago Heights,  has two senior executive positions available. Both positions report directly to the CEO.

The Vice President of Community Living is responsible to oversee 23 CILAS and 15 persons with ICILA supports.  The CILAs are all located in the south suburbs of Chicago.

The Development and Community Relations Director oversees the organization’s fundraising, external communications, grant writing and social media presence.

If anyone is interested in learning more details of either position please contact Dan Strick at


Important Dates!

  • September 6 – Executive Forum In Person Meeting – TBD
  • September 14 – Healthcare Conference, Alsip
  • October 3 – Living with Autism Conference, Lisle
  • October 30-November 1 – Speak Up Speak Out, Springfield