February 11, 2022
Last Chance to Register for Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum
This year's Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum will be held virtually on February 15 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. The forum is free to attend and participants will be able to enjoy the benefits of our program without driving to the NYS Capitol!

The annual Joint Legislative and Advocacy Forum is a collaboration between The Arc New York and The New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation, which provides access to information on the 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal, upcoming legislation, advocacy strategies, and opportunities to engage leadership in the Senate and Assembly. Parents and family members, self-advocates, direct support professionals, not-for-profit agencies and other stakeholders will hear from presenters across a wide range of timely topics, reflecting the importance for us to be a strong voice in Albany this year and beyond. The full agenda with session times, descriptions and speakers can be found here.

The forum will help to convey the next stage of our advocacy from March to June of 2022. Register now to strengthen your own advocacy and our collective efforts!

Legislative Public Hearing on 2022 Mental Hygiene Executive Budget
On Monday, February 14 starting at 11:00 AM, the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees will hold their Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the Mental Hygiene Executive Budget proposal. The hearing will be held virtually and live-streamed on the Senate website.

Geraldo Rivera's Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace 50th Anniversary
Fifty years ago, ABC investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera responded to a call from doctors and social workers at the Willowbrook State School to report on the appalling conditions under which its residents lived. Rivera and his crew captured footage in that clandestine visit to the School that became the explosive and honest exposé, "Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace."
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the original broadcast and as part of the 2022 Year of Willowbrook at the College of Staten Island/ CUNY, the Willowbrook Legacy Project will present an evening of reflection and discussion with Geraldo Rivera on Wednesday, February 16 from 6:00-7:00 PM. Registration and additional information about this event can be found here, and the full 2021 Annual Willowbrook lecture can be view here
Rise Up Campaign Update
On Wednesday, February 9, self-advocate BJ Stasio had the opportunity to meet with Joan Kesner, Governor Hochul's Western New York Chief of Staff to discuss his Rise Up Campaign, which many members of The Arc New York participated in. In the meeting Ms. Kesner reiterated that the Governor is listening to the needs of people with I/DD and asked us to continue offering ideas on how to improve supports and services.
Hochul Approves Advocate for People with Disabilities
This week, LoHud published a story by Nancy Cutler highlighting the revival and funding for the state's Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The office, to be called the Office for the Chief Disabilities Officer, was first created by Gov. Mario Cuomo and dissolved during Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration. Governor Hochul signed the legislation into law last week. The article goes on to outline the ongoing workforce crisis and resulting issues it causes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you are unable to read the article online, a link to the full text can be found here.

ICYMI: 2022 The Arc US Policy & Advocacy Kickoff
This week, The Arc of the United States Policy, Advocacy, and Communications teams presented a webinar on the 2022 federal policy priorities, upcoming resources, and ways to get involved. In case you missed it, you can view the full presentation and slides here. The information will help to explain federal priorities and how we can make the greatest impact both in Washington, DC and around the country.

Neifeld Appears Before Senate Disabilities Committee
OPWDD Acting Commissioner Kerri Neifeld appeared before the New York State Senate Disabilities Committee as they considered her nomination by Governor Kathy Hochul to serve as Commissioner. Neifeld has served as Acting Commissioner of OPWDD since November. She will also appear before the Senate Finance Committee in the days ahead before her confirmation goes before the full Senate for a vote. You can view the hearing here.

2022 NADSP Advocacy Symposium – Amplifying DSP Voices
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is holding its first-ever national advocacy event March 9-10, 2022, to bring the direct support professional (DSP) perspective to the forefront of Congress and the Administration.

Challenges from the pandemic and recent legislation have provided new insights and opportunities for DSPs. NADSP recognizes the critical importance of lifting the voices of DSPs to federal policy-makers, to ensure public policy is informed by the people who are on the front lines of supporting people with disabilities to live, work and thrive in the community.

NADSP will provide DSPs from all across the country with comprehensive advocacy virtual training, culminating with virtual meetings with Congressional leaders and staff on March 10, to educate and advocate on NADSP’s public policy priorities for 2022. The goal of the symposium is to bolster the ranks and knowledge of DSP advocates, so recruitment and registration should be primarily focused on DSPs. Visit the event page for registration and more information.

Registration Open for 2022 Disability Policy Seminar
Registration for the 2022 Disability Policy Seminar is now open. This year's seminar will be will be a hybrid event from March 28-30. You will have the opportunity to join advocates in person in Washington, DC or virtually!

The Disability Policy Seminar offers the opportunity for passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to come together and learn about key issues that affect them most. After attending, you will have the tools to bring strong advocacy to virtual meetings and other follow-up actions as we work to raise awareness among members of Congress about issues important to the disability community.

Register by March 13 to take advantage of early bird rates!

If you plan on attending, please inform Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs at The Arc New York so he can assist with any delegation plans and congressional meetings. aydinianp@thearcny.org
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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