We just got back from meeting with Deputy Governor Sol Flores and her staff regarding many of the priorities listed below and DD Services transformation efforts such as the HCBS settings rule and rebalancing.

This week is the last week for the Legislature to pass the state budget.  They are also  actively negotiating on a number of items.  It is a must pass week for other legislative bills as well.  Therefore, we ask advocates to make a few more calls before the end of session:

We need to keep the pressure on during this time of negotiation to ensure that Legislators do not forget to support increases for DSPs and other front line staff.  Please call your legislators one more time to say: “I urge you to give high priority to providing funding that supports a living wage for caregivers for people with disabilities, known as direct support professionals (DSPs).  Please support appropriating funds to enable DSPs to earn a base wage of $5.00+ per hour above the state minimum wage (as well as any minimum wage levels established by counties or municipalities), which will address the deplorable staffing crisis impacting thousands of Illinoisans with developmental disabilities and their families.”  You can do this through the www.theydeservemore.com website.

HB 3299 DD Sex Education Bill – HB3299, if you remember, ensures people who live in CILAs, ICFDDs and the State facilities have the right to access appropriate trainings on sexual health, sexual safety and sexual education.  It still needs to be brought to the floor in the Senate.  If you have not already, please call your Senator to support it.  If you are in Senator Harmon’s district, please thank him for his leadership to bring HB3299 to the floor.

HR 410 – Resolution Honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Olmstead Supreme Court Decision, was voted out of the House Human Services Committee this week.  We would expect it to pass this week.  Here is the language.  The Going Home Coalition has picked up the mantel in the effort to have the Legislature and the Governor highlight the impact of the Olmstead decision and how much farther we have to go as a state to fulfill it.  We have asked Governor Pritzker to put forward a proclamation as well.  

Medicaid Omnibus
We have been doing a lot of work with coalitions like Protect Our Care and in partnership with IARF to try to make sure the issues around Medicaid access and re-determinations for people with disabilities is addressed.  After negotiating with Healthcare and Family Services we would expect a Medicaid Omnibus to be released very soon or be rolled in to the Budget Implementation bill (known as BIMP) that passes in connecting with the budget.  The negotiation has included allowing HFS to have 90 days to create a plan for addressing Medicaid re-d issues and 90 days to submit that plan to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  This allows feedback from advocates but delays change.  We were trying to advocate for immediate automated re-d for people with I/DD but it looks like that will be delayed.  Everything we have heard indicates that they are in support for trying to create a fast track system for people with I/DD but it might take months to implement.  We will need to keep up advocacy on this. 

Revenue Bills
The cannabis legalization bill, SB 7, is still in negotiation.  We don’t have a position, but it is a source of additional revenue.

Fair Tax – The bill that would establish tax rates under the Fair Tax proposal is SB 687 and it was approved by the House this week, thus heading to the voters in 2020.   It would raise over $3 billion in new revenue, but would not take effect until FY 2022 and only if the IL Constitution is amended to eliminate the flat tax rate requirement.  SJRCA 1, if passed by the House with 71 or more votes, would put the constitutional amendment initiative on the 2020 ballot.  It has already cleared the Senate.  This effort would help with our advocacy efforts to increase investment in community living.

We are still not clear if sports betting and other fees that were proposed in the Governor’s budget will also pass in the next three days.