It's Week 2 of Oregon's 2018 Legislative Session!  

Things are in full swing at the Capitol. During this short session, bills have to move out of their originating committee by this Thursday, Feb. 15. This is the last day for policy committees to move measures introduced in their chamber (i.e. Senate bills in the Senate, House bills in the House) out of committee. The deadline does not apply to Ways & Means, Revenue, Rules, and other joint committees.
For example, if the bill started in the House Education committee, by this Thursday, it would have to have passed out of the House Education committee or it "dies" this session and will not become law.

A pivotal point in the session will begin Friday when the state revenue forecast will be announced. The previous budget forecast was released in November before the federal tax reform was passed. There continues to be uncertainty about how the federal tax changes will impact our state budget. 

Please connect with your state legislators this week and express the importance of fully funding services for Oregonians with developmental disabilities.

Please join us in advocacy THIS WEEK at our first DD Advocacy Day of the year.
The Oregon Developmental Disability Coalition's GO! Project Advocacy Team will be available to provide you with information, training and support:

Wednesday, February 14th from 10 AM to 2 PM
State Library of Oregon (directly across from Capitol)
250 Winter Street NE Salem, Room 102 & 103
Training provided at 11 AM
  • Go to to get contact information for your State Representative and State Senator
  • Schedule a time to discuss the issue of DD Services funding with your two state legislators and/or their staff
  • Wear something yellow to show unity in advocacy
  • Stop by before and after your visits for important advocacy updates!
Because our first legislative advocacy event of the year is on Valentine's Day, we have designed Print & GO Valentine Grams to be personalized for your legislators! 

Stop by the Oregon State Library to get chocolate to share with your legislators when you deliver their Valentine!

Other dates to save on your calendar:
Tuesday, February 27 from 10 AM to 2 PM
State Library of Oregon (directly across from Capitol)
250 Winter Street NE Salem, Room 102 & 103
Tuesday, March 6 from Noon to 2 PM
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE Salem, Room 350

Developmental Disability Services Budget 

A s we have discussed in our September GO! Bulletin, in a budget note in the Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) budget, the legislature directs ODDS to cut an additional $12 million from its budget. If ODDS cannot, then it directs ODDS to look at changing eligibility for DD services.
Although ODDS is working to find $12 million in its budget, ODDS has also unveiled a plan that will cap how many children can receive DD services - and gives legislators the option to start counting family income when looking at Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability eligibility. 
Phase 1 of the children's waiver changes will cap the number of children served. Any children seeking services after the cap is reached will be placed on a wait list. Children on the wait list will not receive services until a slot opens on the waiver. For now, ODDS plans to cap the number of children on this waiver at the number of children they anticipate serving as of July 1, 2018.

Phase 2 of the waiver changes will start in October 2019 and require that ODDS consider the family's income when looking at children's eligibility for DD services. Currently, ODDS only looks to the child's income when establishing waiver eligibility. This will cut services completely for approximately one third of the families currently using services and leave them with only out of home placements options if they need support. ODDS was clear that Phase 2 will only happen if they are directed by the legislature to make this change.

If the Center for Medicaid Services at the federal level approves, Phase 1 (starting a wait list) would only save an estimated $360,000 in general funds this biennium and $2.7 million general funds in the following biennium. The costs to the systems and to families would be higher in the end. It was estimated that the average cost of children's in-home services is only $2,000 per month; whereas foster care costs $5,000 monthly and children's group residential care is approximately $11,000 per month per child.

While the ODDS budget has expanded in the last few years, families now have access to the needed supports and services to remain at home, and that while there are more children accessing services, the number of children entering the system is expected to level out in 2019.

Oregon's financial forecast has been moving in a positive direction and while federal tax changes may impact our State budget, we ask the legislature to prioritize the well-being of our most-vulnerable citizens and their families.  
We question whether long-term sustainability can be achieved by cutting people out of services. Removing access to services has costly, long-term consequences to children, families and our community. If families lose access to DD services it would result in higher demand for police, medical, emergency room and educators for crisis support. These children and families will still need services and will be forced into crisis, isolation and then into programs that are more expensive and less appropriate to meet their needs.
Let's not take a step backward! These short-term budget cuts will have lasting and devastating consequences for Oregon families.
Rather than making changes to eligibility now, we urge the legislature to allow the caseloads to plateau in 2019 as expected and give sustainability measures already underway time to stabilize program costs so that Oregon children experiencing DD continue to have opportunities to access supports and succeed in our communities.
We urge the legislature to continue the current course of providing proactive support to families so children with disabilities have a real chance of growing up to be independent adults who are more likely to have natural connections to community resources. Effective support from the start can change the trajectory for children with disabilities in our state. Please make these children a priority!  

Bills to Watch 

For information about these and other bills the DD Coalition has selected that may impact the lives of people experiencing intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families, please reference our Bill Tracking Report. There are several bills of note that have hearings this week, including:

Monday, February 12
1:00 PM / HR C Senate Committee on Education Work Session on SB 1522: Modifies requirements imposed on school districts for persons receiving special education who have received modified diploma.
Tuesday, February 13
1:00 PM / HR D House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports -
  • Work session on HB 4067: Expands definition of term "child with a disability" for purposes of special education to include children who have developmental delays up to third grade.
  • Work Session on HB 4066: Establishes Early Childhood Equity Innovation Fund.
3:00 PM / HR D House Higher Education and Workforce Development Work Session on HB 4041: E stablishes Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities.
3:00 PM / HR A Senate Workforce Work Session SB 1534:  Requires Department of Human Services to establish minimum training standards for home care workers and personal support workers and to provide training.

Watch live video or listen to audio of the Senate and House chamber sessions and Committee hearings online through the Oregon State Legislature's website
Now Let's GO!

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