Advocacy Selfies at the State Capitol are the best. 
We love this one of Ryley, Ross, Anna & Kaaren from earlier today!


Oregon's 2016 Legislative Short Session is in full swing and, as expected, it is very fast paced! The GO Project is here to help you stay informed of legislative issues and advocacy opportunities throughout the session. 

Connect with your Legislators:

We encourage you to schedule a time to meet with your State Senator and Representative to talk about the importance of continued investment in DD Services. Here are some talking points:
 
2016 Focus Areas

INTENTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: Invest in a sustainable intellectual and developmental disability system that complies with federal expectations and supports people with IDD to live full lives as integrated members of their communities.  As people with IDD have more choice about where they live, learn and work, it is important that we protect resources such as the Fairview Trust.

SUPPORT EMPLOYMENT : Continue funding employment outcomes for people with IDD and support Lane v. Brown Emplo yment settlement implementation.

RAISE DSP WAGES : Establish r ates that create living wages fo r direct support professionals to ensure capacity for these essential supports.

BUILD NATURAL SUPPORTS : Provide tools to help adults and children create sustainable natural supports. This includes funding the Regional Family Networks.
ADJUST ASSESSMENTS : Adjust needs assessment to ensure that eligible children and adults get the Medicaid services they really need. No more. No less.

To find out who your two State legislators are visit:

Download this Fact Sheet and share it with your legislators and/or their staff. Just visit our Dropbox at http;//ow.ly/Y6M4y and select Direct Download this Fact Sheet. 


DD Advocacy Days at the Capitol:
 

Dozens of advocates joined us at the Capitol at the start the month for our first DD Advocacy Day of the session. 

Many advocates met with their legislators for the first time to discuss the importance of Family Networks, Early Intervention / Early Childhood Sp ecial Education Services, Direct Support Professional (DSP) Wages, Employment Supports, Housing and the Fairview Trust Fund. 


Mark your calendars for  February 25th from 10AM to 1PM and join us at the DD Legislative Advocacy Headquarters in Room 257 for our event to wrap-up the session!  
 
We will be there with our photo rally signs, yellow umbrella photo props, training materials and fact sheets to support your advocacy efforts in a fun and informative way!

Bill Tracking:

We are following bills through the legislative process and attending hearings on relevant issues.  To stay active, bills not in the Ways and Means, Finance and Revenue, or Rules Committees must have a work session in their originating chamber by February 11th.

We welcome you to follow bills along with us!  Just visit our Dropbox at http://ow.ly/Y6M4y and select Direct Download to access the Oregon IDD Coalition's most recent Bill Tracking Report. 

Fun Fact: House Bills (HB) are originated by the State House of Representatives with has 60 members and Senate Bills (SB) are originated by the State Senate which has 30 members.

State Budget Update:

When the legislature convenes for short sessions, it passes policy bills and makes adjustments to the two-year (biennium) state budget. The 2015 session set the budget for 2015-2017. In this 2016 session the budget will be rebalanced or adjusted as program needs and financial forecasts change.  
 
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has asked the legislature for additional dollars this session. These dollars will help fill a budget gap in 2016 that was created by caseload growth and cost-per-case increases. These increases are in the Office of Developmental Disability Services as well as the Aging and People with Disabilities budgets.
 
We are hearing positive and consistent messages from the Ways and Means Co-Chairs that the legislature will grant DHS the requested funds this session. While this is encouraging, it is vital that you reach out to your legislators and tell them why your IDD services are important for you to live and work as a member of your community.
 
In other budget news, Oregon is doing a better job of making sure children have developmental screenings. These screenings are identifying more children who need Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education Services (EI/ECSE) because of a disability or developmental delay. Unfortunately, the EI/ECSE budget for  2015-2017 did not provide adequate funding for the number of children who would need these services. At this point, EI/ECSE programs anticipate an additional 700 children than they were budgeted to serve. Since these programs cannot have wait lists, it is critical that EI/ECSE receive  $5.4 million to serve these children. We are also hearing positive news about potential funding for this request.
 
Other budget requests legislators are prioritizing include money for the 2015 fire season expenses; additional caseload dollars for Head Start; funding for Umpqua Community College repairs; and Department of Corrections improvements for treatment for people with mental illness.
 
The legislature is also working to build the State's reserve fund to ensure that Oregon is prepared if and when another economic downturn occurs.
Print & GO! Materials:

We have created a Print & GO! Valentine Greeting to help you share your personal story with your legislator this week!  Just visit our Dropbox at  http://ow.ly/Y6M4y  and select Direct Download to get your Valentine.




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