March 18, 2022
Capitol Rally and Budget Updates
The Arc New York and its NYDA partners will hold a budget rally outside the NYS Capitol in East Capitol Park (the side of the Capitol with the large staircase) on Wednesday, March 23 at 11 AM. This will be the first in-person rally at the capitol in years! We hope to gather as many people as possible and drive home the message to our state legislators and the governor that we need sustained investment in the I/DD field now more than ever. We will be rallying for the proposed 11% COLA to be included in the Enacted Budget. Register for the rally here to receive updates as additional details emerge. 

If you are planning to attend, please consider inviting your legislators to join the rally and/or schedule a meeting to see them! Updated talking points and resources to advocate with your legislators can be found below.

Updated Budget Priorities Info Sheet and One-Click Campaign
The one-house budget proposals from the Assembly and Senate necessitated a slight shift in our advocacy approach as we enter negotiations and near the budget deadline. We are most focused on forwarding the adoption of the 11% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) found in the Assembly bill. This proposal is the most straightforward and effective way to allocate the significant funding presented in both the Executive and one-house budgets. We have updated The Arc New York’s Budget Priorities Info Sheet for use in legislative meetings moving forward. You can finds this and other resources in our Budget Advocacy Toolkit.

We also updated our one-click campaign to include these asks, with a focus on the 11% COLA and income tax credit. Using this link will automatically send two different versions the letter, one to the Governor and the other to your Assembly and Senate representatives. Please share the campaign widely with your members, friends, other organizations, post on your social media accounts, and reiterate we need one last push to achieve this new advocacy goal.
In addition to your own representatives, there are some key members to approach in the coming days. The Assembly and Senate convene a General Conference Committee, and sub-committees based on topic. The Assembly and Senate General Conference Committee Appointments were released March 15, and the Sub-Committee on Mental Hygiene had their initial meeting this past Tuesday. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and a recording can be viewed here, along with a list of all the members. These committees work to reconcile the one-house budget proposals and bring them closer to final budget prior to negotiations with Assembly and Senate leaders and the Governor.

The Arc Oneida-Lewis Hosts Commissioner Neifeld
The Arc Oneida-Lewis recently hosted Commissioner Keri Neifeld, where she met with Chapter staff, board members, and toured innovative, community-based programs. She visited the Oneida-Lewis College Works program on the campus of Mohawk Valley Community College, discussed their school-to-work continuum, and challenges with timely eligibility approvals. The Commissioner indicated that resolving the issue of timely approvals was a priority for her office.
During her visit, the Commissioner provided an overview of her goals and initiatives, which include workforce, education, employment, housing, individualized program options, self-direction, and care-management. She expanded on these issues on The Arc Waves, a half-hour podcast with Karen Korotzer, Executive Director of The Arc Oneida-Lewis. You can listen to the full podcast here.

Senate Committee on Aging to Hold Hearing on HCBS Investments
The US Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing next Wednesday, March 23 at 10:00 AM on home and community-based services (HCBS) titled, “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services.” This is the next step in our efforts to get the Better Care Better Jobs Act passed!

There was a big push in 2021 to include $400 billion for HCBS as part of our workforce advocacy campaign. Despite, the figure being reduced to $150 billion, this still represents a historic investment in HCBS and speaks to our ardent advocacy efforts. The Arc New York reached out to Senator Gillibrand’s office to encourage her to attend the hearing, as she is a member of the committee. She previously expressed deep interest in HCBS and has sponsored legislation related to the DSP workforce.

You can view the full witness list and the live-streamed hearing here.
2022 Annual Willowbrook Lecture: Beyond Willowbrook
What happened to residents after Willowbrook State School closed? The 2022 Willowbrook Memorial Lecture will feature Ronnie Cohn, the Independent Evaluator for the Willowbrook Class charged with ensuring that former Willowbrook residents were protected after the closure of Willowbrook. Cohn will lead a panel discussion featuring other figures who have been instrumental in overseeing the care and conditions for the Willowbrook class members. This event will examine what happened after Willowbrook closed and what the future holds for persons with developmental disabilities and their families.

The lecture and panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at 6:00 PM via Zoom. Visit the event page to register and learn more, and get more information about The Year of Willowbrook here
Resources from HHS Office of Civil Rights
The White House Office of Public Engagement hosted a session last week with Lisa J. Pino, Director of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. During the conversation, Director Pino noted President Biden’s commitment to non-discrimination and brought forward resources and opportunities for advocates. The full press release includes links to access these resources and register for the next stakeholder meeting on April 14.

SANYS Event: Revitalizing Self-Advocacy
Calling all Self-Advocates, SA Advisors, Administrators, and other allies! The Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) is hosting an event at 1 PM on March 30, focused on the revitalization of the self-advocacy network. You can join the event here.

The pandemic and staffing crisis have created significant challenges for the self-advocacy network in NYS. It is important that we reconnect to revitalize and energize self-advocacy. SANYS is asking everyone who supports self-advocacy to come together for a conversation about overcoming challenges, celebrating self-advocacy, and to explore steps to rebuild lost connections.  

The Arc New York seeks to continually build relationships across organizations. Self-advocacy is a vital part of our shared efforts, and we look forward to the discussion and hope you do as well.
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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