Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Thank you for all the advocacy work you do to make Illinois a place where people with disabilities can fully participate in the community.
Still Time if You Live in Chicago to Advocate to Alderman Re: Subminimum Wage – Corrected Link
November 26 is the date for the final vote on the management ordinance, which includes an elimination of the subminimum wage in Chicago by 2024. Please advocate now through this link from Access Living.
Two other issues that have been raised in this discussion are the concerns we have around the state responding to any Chicago increases in minimum wage to ensure that Direct Support Professional wages keep up and continue to exceed the minimum wage as DSP work is not minimum wage work. Without a proper state response and support for increases in wages, there will continue to be a staffing crisis that impacts employment and all aspects of people’s lives. THEY DESERVE MORE. We have called on the city to support our statewide advocacy.
The second issue is around rideshare and concerns that new rideshare taxes include out programs that specifically support people with disabilities getting to work. We advocate that the city work to decrease the barrier to accessing all kinds of transportation that directly help people with disabilities find and keep employment.
Fall Out Continues around Seclusion and Restraint Article
This week Arc leaders are meeting with the Illinois State Board of Education and other advocates to discuss both the emergency steps already taken and possible further administrative and legislative actions around seclusion and restraint. As we shared last week, Rep Carroll has already introduced legislation on this topic.
In addition, importantly, families have been sharing your experiences in schools with seclusion and restraint and like many policy issues, there are many different perspectives. We believe starting now on discussion about legislation will allow for a more nuanced development of legislation that eliminates the use of these practices, while ensuring the safety of kids, the training and support of teachers and other professionals in schools and the addition of critical staffing and support resources to schools across the state. This will take time to ensure that the right strategies are put in place so that all students regardless of their support needs can learn, grown and prosper in Illinois schools.
Please keep sharing your stories and concerns with the Arc and through social media. Only by sharing our personal experiences can this discussion remain focused and productive.
Reminder: You can lend your voice and experience!
1) Submit your comments to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) about the proposed emergency rules which can be found at this link. Information, questions, input should be directed to: Azita Kakvand, Agency Rules Coordinator, Illinois State Board of Education, 100 North First Street Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001, (217) 782-6510, firstname.lastname@example.org, You can simply send a letter or an email about your experience and/or why/how isolation/seclusion of students with disabilities is a problem.
2) Share your stories and concerns with us at email@example.com. We want to identify families who might be willing to share concerns or be involved in future legislative efforts.
3) Through social media, thank the Governor and the journalists for their efforts (@GovPritzker; @chicagotribune; @propublica), and express your opinion on this issue;
4) Check out the legislation already released by Rep Carroll.
Personal Needs Allowance Modernization Act Introduced
Rep Wexton (D-Virginia) introduced a bill to raise the federal floor for the personal needs allowance that seniors and people with disabilities in nursing homes are allowed to keep. The PNA Modernization Act would double the federal floor for the monthly Personal Needs Allowance to $60 for an individual and $120 for a couple, and would index the amount to inflation. The federal floor of the PNA has not been raised since 1988 and is out of touch with today’s economic realities. Adjusting for inflation, the PNA’s current value of $30 would be worth only $14 in 1988, a drop of over 50% in purchasing power for those who rely on it. Although currently people living in group homes in Illinois also have a $60 PNA, this bill could be a jumping off point for additional discussion of increasing the PNA in Illinois and federally and including people in ICFDDs and HCBS residential waiver services. Press release about bill: https://bit.ly/2QNQlyE
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