October 28, 2021
Build Back Better Agenda Framework Update
This morning, The White House released a framework for the compromise version of the Build Back Better Agenda. President Biden expanded on the details, justification, and impact of the framework in his own announcement.

Since the top-line figure has now been negotiated down to $1.75 Trillion, there have been many eliminations and reductions as a result. Fortunately, resources for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have remained, despite the overall amount being lowered. The investment in HCBS now stands at $150 billion. It is a major victory that we stayed included. While we will keep pushing for more, this is an historic investment in both access to services and our direct care workforce. Overall increases to SSI have all but been removed from the framework, but small changes are still in the mix, including an increase to asset limits and the elimination of the “holding out” rules that punish people for living together. The Arc US released a statement on the new framework earlier today.

Additional advocacy is needed for us to cross the finish line with these significant investments. Sharing your story with Congress is a strong way to support HCBS. The Arc US and its partners have also assembled toolkits, providing links to resources, as well as message templates for social media. Let’s continue to keep the pressure on!  #CareCantWait 
Letter to Hochul in Support of Special Education Funding
The Arc New York and its Chapters, together with dozens of organizations, sent a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to support S.6516-A (Mannion)/A.8013 (Benedetto), which amends the Education Law to establish a tuition methodology for 4410 special education preschools and 853 special education schools that provides annual growth commensurate with that of public school district foundation aid. This legislation seeks to provide a level of parity between private special education schools and public schools.

In early October, The Arc New York’s CEO Erik Geizer sent a similar letter to Governor Hochul. The bill has passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
RISE UP Campaign
Several weeks ago, advocates from across New York launched the RISE UP campaign, which encourages people to tell their personal stories, particularly about supports provided by Direct Support Professionals (DSP) and the impact of the workforce crisis. The goal is to make clear to Governor Hochul that we are at a crossroads after a years-long lack of investment, and need New York state to finally invest in our supports and services.

Your stories drive change. So, please follow the link here, enter your information, and personalize the letter text with YOUR story and details before you send the email. A great place to start writing your story is before or right after the first paragraph of the letter.

This campaign continues to gain steam and will culminate in a meeting with Governor Hochul. We want to get at least 10,000 advocates to join! As we all RISE UP, we are sending a message to the governor to do the same. Please share this opportunity with friends, family, self-advocates, DSPs, and anyone who is willing to RISE UP with us!

Register for The Arc NY Advocacy and Policy Webinar
The Arc New York will be conducting a webinar to present our 2022 advocacy plan and vision on Thursday, November 18, from 3-4 PM. In this session, we will give a brief retrospective on our advocacy over the past four months, lay out the strategy and timeline for engaging legislators moving forward, introduce our FY 22-23 budget agenda priorities, provide tactics and lessons for successful meetings, and communicate our vision for engaging and mobilizing our members and allies. This coming year and beyond, we have an historic opportunity to influence the transformation of I/DD supports and services, and we must be at the forefront.

The session is open to all advocates, board members, staff, and allies. Register here
Recap of Hudson Valley Virtual Workforce Rally
Last week, New York Disability Advocates, regional Chapters of The Arc New York, and Hudson Valley Service Providers were joined by State Senators and Assembly members, Direct Support Professionals (DSP), self-advocates, and family members for a virtual rally to support the DSP workforce. Over 150 people participated in the rally, with additional viewers watching the Facebook livestream.

Legislators echoed the need for workforce investment and cited many of the points, facts, and figures we have been conveying for months, including the need for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) and additional funding to make up for years of insufficient investments. It is encouraging to hear our budget agenda being echoed by key elected representatives. Their comments in the final press release can be found here and a recording of the rally can be found on the NYDA Facebook page

The rally is one of many being held across the state to raise awareness about our workforce crisis and call for solutions. Additional rallies are being planned for NYC and statewide.
Governor Hochul Announces Administration Nominations
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced nominations for roles at the Urban Development Corporation, Empire State Development, and the Department of Economic Development. Kevin Law will be nominated as a Director of the Urban Development Corporation and will be designated Chair of the UDC. Hope Knight will be nominated as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and President and CEO of Empire State Development.
See the governor’s press release for additional information and short biographies of these individuals.
This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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