September 10, 2021
The Arc New York to Present Oral Testimony at Senate Workforce Hearing
The New York State Senate Standing Committee on Disabilities is holding a public hearing to evaluate the current workforce challenges of the I/DD service delivery system. The Arc New York will present written testimony, and and CEO Erik Geizer has been invited to provide oral testimony to the committee. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 14 at 10 AM in Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building (LOB), 2nd Floor, Albany, NY. More information can be found on the NYS Senate website here.

Prior to the hearing there will be a rally in West Capitol Park starting at 9:15 AM. Participants can then enter the capitol through the State Street entrance and take the escalator or elevator down to enter the LOB. We have provided a social media graphic for your use in spreading word about the rally. The main message is “CARE NOT CUTS!

The Arc New York Regulatory Reform Proposal
This week, The Arc New York submitted a Regulatory Reform Proposal to The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and New York State Executive Leadership proposing a package of regulatory reforms that we believe would enhance efficiency and reduce administrative burden on providers and staff without compromising the quality of our programs or the safety and wellbeing of the people we support. As we work to address our workforce crisis and develop innovative and efficient service models, it has become clear that thoughtful regulatory reform must be part of the solution. We have long advocated with OPWDD leadership for regulatory relief. This proposal formalizes our suggestions in an effort to better realize needed reform. The paper will also be submitted as a supplemental document to our written testimony for the Senate Hearing.

HCBS Budget Reconciliation and Federal Advocacy Update
Early next week, Energy and Commerce will mark-up their part of the reconciliation bill, which includes funding for home and community based services (HCBS). There have been reports that the funding could be cut down to $150 billion, but with a lot of push back, the committee came up to $190 billion. This is still a far cry from the $400 billion we are advocating for.

The language of the bill includes a 7% FMAP increase, a 2% increase for self-direction, permanent extension of Money Follows the Person, and the requirement of core quality measures. The bill will go through the committee early next week, and then through the Rules and Budget committees. We must continue the push for our original ask of $400 billion, or a figure closer to that. The Arc US will provide updated social media messages and content as we continual to rally around this issue. We will update you when additional information is released.

The Arc US Webinar: Congressional Recess is Over, What Now?
The Arc US Policy and advocacy staff are presenting a webinar about the state of advocacy as Congress returns from their recess. Join us September 15 at 3 PM for updates on where we stand on our priority issues, how the rest of 2021 is expected to shape up in Washington, and how our advocacy might shift going into the fall. Register here.

Next Round of Revisions to Existing Arc US Position Statements
The Arc US Policy and Positions Committee, with members from both The Arc and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), is working to revise three of their current position statements and develop one new joint statement. AAIDD adopted a new statement in December 2020 on Anti-Racism, which will be the starting point for the new joint position statement. The four statements can be found below:

While the Committee is working on the statements, they would like to hear from you about what ideas or concepts you believe should be kept in the statements and what should be changed. Your comments will be considered in developing drafts for the Boards of Directors of The Arc and AAIDD. Later in the year, close-to-final revised statements will be available for comment, before the two Boards of Directors vote on them.

Please click here to make your comments and please respond by Friday, October 8. If you have any questions, contact Mike Nagel at
Key Administrative Appointments and Lt. Governor Benjamin Sworn In
Yesterday, Governor Kathy Hochul introduced and welcomed New York State Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin at his swearing in ceremony. Governor Hochul announced the selection of Benjamin on August 26. As a NYS Senator, Brian Benjamin previously worked with now-Governor Hochul on several key issues, including fighting the opioid epidemic and boosting addiction recovery programs, supporting Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) business owners and making it easier for New Yorkers to vote.
Benjamin previously served as the New York State Senator for District 30 - which encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Revenue and Budget and Senior Assistant Majority Leader, he distinguished himself as a leader in criminal justice reform and affordable housing. Lt. Governor Benjamin remains heavily involved in his community in Harlem. His full bio can be found here.

Also this week, Governor Hochul announced a number of key appointments to her administration, including her Chief of Staff, Jeff Lewis. This is the largest single release of appointees, and signifies a concerted effort to move forward with the administration’s agenda. A full list full list can be found below and biographies on all the appointees can be found here.

  • Jeff Lewis, Chief of Staff to the Governor
  • Linda Sun, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Melissa Bochenski, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Julissa Gutierrez, Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York. Julissa was appointed in early 2020 and will continue to serve in this role under the Hochul administration.
  • Shirley Paul, Senior Advisor to the Governor
  • Sinéad Doherty, Deputy Secretary for Executive Operations
  • Padma Seemangal, Deputy Secretary for Policy Operations
  • Hazel Crampton-Hays, Press Secretary
  • Jelanie DeShong, Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Devan Cayea, Director of Strategic Planning and Scheduling
  • Fohat Aird-Bombo, Director of Advance
Governor Hochul previously announced a handful of appointees, including Karen Persichilli Keogh in the key role of Secretary to the Governor. Those appointees and their biographies can be found below.

  • Tremaine Wright, Chair of New York Cannabis Control Board
  • Christopher Alexander, Executive Director of State Office of Cannabis Management
  • Wright/Alexander Announcement

  • Karen Persichilli Keogh, Secretary to the Governor
  • Elizabeth Fine, Counsel to the Governor
  • Keogh/Fine Announcement 

The August Congressional Recess digital toolkit provided by The Arc US includes links to key webpages, action alerts, graphics, sample social media posts, letters to the editor, and tips on how to engage Congress during the recess. The focus of this advocacy is for a $400 billion investment in Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) through the Better Care Better Jobs Act, as well as plans to better support the direct care workforce, improve paid leave programs for workers with disabilities and caregivers, and increase asset limits for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Arc New York has created a complimentary campaign focused on workforce investment. In it, we detail the need $400 billion for HCBS as it relates to our current employment crisis. We cannot let this once-in-a-generation opportunity pass us by.

Additionally, if you have not done so already, the Raise Our Voices for Care campaign offers a new virtual way to share your story about why HCBS care matters to you. Please make sure you take action, it is an absolutely critical time to engage.
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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