The Arc of Illinois Weekly Update

Craziness continues at the state and federal level, which means we need to keep flexing our advocacy muscles!

ACTIONS NEEDED THIS WEEK (more detail below):

1) Social Media: Use the #GoingHomeIL Wednesday
2) Call your IL House Member to support SB955, the direct support worker wage bill.
3) Call your IL house and senate member to demand a State Budget for FY18 that includes the Arc’s Illinois Life Span grant.
4) Call your federal legislators to say no cuts to Medicaid through repeal and replace.

Highlights in this update include:

  • State Advocacy
  • Going Home Rally
  • They Deserve More Coalition
  • Federal Advocacy – Budget & Health Care
  • Resources & Upcoming Events



State Advocacy

Pulling no punches: Illinois awaits budget, by Ryan Voyles: 

“For the third year in a row, the three men at the center of Illinois politics are circling inside the Capitol, and nobody is pulling punches. In one corner is Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, and in the other are Democratic leaders Michael Madigan and John Cullerton. The goal: Pass a budget before the end of session on May 31. The past two years have seen lawmakers come up short, both sides throwing in the towel, as an untold number of Illinois residents suffer through the longest gap between budgets of any state in the country.” Story here

From the Responsible Budget Coalition
As the May 31 end of the legislative session approaches and the pressure to reach a budget agreement increases, the Senate took action on a number of Grand Bargain bills on Wednesday.  Three of the Grand Bargain bills relate directly to the state budget. Senate Bill 6 contains FY18 appropriations, Senate Bill 42 is the budget implementation bill that makes the statutory changes needed to effectuate the budget, and Senate Bill 9 contains the increases in revenue needed to bring the budget into balance.

SB 6 passed, SB 42 failed and SB 9 was not called for a vote. SB 6 was held by the Senate since without passage of SB 9 the Senate budget would not be balanced.  SB 6 includes a 5% cut to Medicaid and an across-the-board 5% cut to human services.  It included the Autism Program, Best Buddies and Epilepsy grants but NOT LIFE SPAN!  SB 42 gives the Governor emergency authority to achieve the Medicaid savings by overriding statutes that protect eligibility and services. SB 9 makes the individual and corporate income tax increases temporary (for seven years) instead of permanent. It is rather astounding that the Senate would choose to make the income tax increases temporary since the expiration of the last temporary tax increase is what has caused Illinois to accumulate $13 billion in unpaid bills.

The Senate Democrats have given the Senate Republicans until Tuesday to reach agreement on a Grand Bargain. After that the Senate Democrats will pass a budget with Democratic votes only and enter negotiations with the House Democrats to come up with a budget that Governor Rauner will surely veto.


We need your help to ensure that a budget is passed that includes all grant that support individuals and families.  Call your legislators and say:

“Please pass a responsible budget that includes the Illinois Life Span Grant ($459,600), which has assisted tens of thousands of people seeking advocacy, assistance and guidance. This grant means that individuals with disabilities and families have help to access and navigate the many complex service systems and confusing funding sources needed to piece together their lives in the community.  These programs have helped my family (me, people with disabilities, their families, and professionals).  Please don’t cut these programs.”



Support Going Home & Community Living

Wednesday in Springfield almost 300 adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), their supporters, family members, and professionals in the disability field will be holding a press conference and rally for community living and rebalancing the state IDD system.

If you can not attend in person, you can participate on social media by sharing your community living stories with the hashtag #GoingHomeIL on Facebook and Twitter.


Take Action: They Deserve More

On May 10th, the They Deserve More Coalition scored a victory in the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, as the State Senate passed SB 955 with an overwhelming majority. SB 955 calls for raising starting wages for direct support professionals to $15 an hour. But while we celebrate this victory, this is just the first step.

The Illinois House is now considering this bill. Should the House pass it will then make its way to the Governor. With only days left in the spring session, we need you to act now, and to help make SB 955 the law in Illinois.


Step 1: Make phone calls to your Illinois State Representative serving in Springfield.



I am calling to urge Representative [last name of Rep] to support SB 955. People with disabilities in Illinois deserve more…they need caregivers who earn a living wage.



Your Illinois State Representative serving in Springfield
Find the phone number for your Illinois State Representative by clicking here.


Step 2: Forward this action alert to at least 10 other people you know…and urge them to make phone calls, and to get others they know to do the same.


If you are having trouble finding your Illinois State Representative, click here.


Don’t forget to SHARE SHARE SHARE on social media.  Use the links at the top of this email to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more!


Federal Advocacy


This week, the Trump Administration is planning on releasing its proposed budget and we are already getting a snap shot of huge cuts to critical programs.  Check out this Washington Post article.

Learn More: Federal Budget Webinar

To learn about the content of budget proposals and discuss recommended messages and activities to use to help protect human needs programs as the federal budget debates progress.

When:             Thursday, May 25, 1:00 p.m. ET


Why:               The Trump budget will propose massive cuts, and we are hearing more about gravely troubling Congressional cuts and reconciliation instructions that are expected to affect Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and/or other entitlements, as well as damaging cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs and massive tax cuts.


Even as we begin talking about fighting cuts to the federal budget, we can’t forget to keep up the advocacy and stories around health care and especially Medicaid.  Politico talks about the efforts to find a way forward in the Senate which could be based on the House bill.  We expect a CBO score this week on the American Health Care Act.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) which will decimate Medicaid with an over $800 billion dollar cut, institute per capita caps, and repeal major health care protections including affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, has moved to the Senate. Thank you for your incredible advocacy efforts. The House vote was very close—Congress was hearing from you and your supporters. Let’s keep it up!

  1. Submit letters to the editor to local media (samples here). 

  2. Continue to attend Town Halls (listing here) and request in-person meetings with Members.

  3. Watch and share Calvin’s and his family’s story, and Thelma’s, and messages to Congress and the President.



Important Dates!

  • May 24 – Going Home Campaign, Springfield
  • June 5 – Arc Board Vision Session, New Lenox
  • June 7 – Executive Forum, Tinley Park
  • Sept 7 – Executive Forum, TBD
  • Sept 14 – Family to Family Healthcare Forum, Alsip
  • Oct 3 – Autism Conference, Lisle
  • Oct 30- Nov 1 – Speak Up Speak Out, Springfield