May 19, 2023
NYS Assembly Disabilities Awareness Day Legislative Package
On Monday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright announced the passage of legislation and resolutions in honor of Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day. The legislative package establishes new disability commissions, expands employment accessibility, enables disability discrimination lawsuits against the state, and honors disability advocates.

“Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day is not just about bringing light to the barriers that New Yorkers living with disabilities face, it’s about passing meaningful legislation to address those barriers,” Speaker Heastie said.

“The legislation we pass today would make real changes in the lives of millions of New Yorkers – from making it easier to find employment to streamlining the process to get critical services.”

“As the chair of the committee of People with Disabilities, the package of bills that we passed for Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day is a step in the right direction for achieving full equality for millions of people living in New York with disabilities,”said Assembly Member Seawright. “I commend Speaker Heastie and my colleagues for their support of this legislation passed today that will promote inclusion, dignity, and respect for people living with disabilities.”

You can find the full list of bills passed and their descriptions in Seawright’s press release and read the Assembly resolution here. Additional bills of note include Gunther/Brouk A.1441/S.1575 to Establish a DSP Credentialing Pilot Program, Mannion/Seawright S.6351/A.6895 Emergency Attendant Risk Management Course for DD, and Jackson/Gunther S.4959/A.4337, which Creates DSP College Programs, Career Ladders and OPWDD Funded Tuition.

Updated Talking Points for The Direct Support Wage Enhancement
We continue to advocate for The Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) as a stand-alone piece of legislation (S4127/A5268) sponsored by Senator Mannion and Assemblymember Seawright.

Through the DSWE, provider agencies would receive a permanent annual funding allocation of $4,000 per eligible employee to be used for purposes of enhancing the hourly rate of pay for all staff that have direct care/support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD.

This proposed increase of $4,000 equates to approximately $2.19 an-hour for a full-time employee – a necessary amount that will allow DSPs and employees the ability to provide for their families and keep the I/DD sector competitive.

With only a month left until the end of session, we will push hard for both houses to recognize this need. We created a one-click campaign so you can quickly send a letter to the legislature in support of the DSWE. Please add your name, and share with family and friends in New York!

We also created talking points with our NYDA partners to assist with your advocacy during the last few days of the 2023 legislative session. Please pick up the phone and call your legislator, asking them to sign on to this important piece of legislation. You can find your legislators' contact information here.
Save Medicaid Advocacy Campaign and Virtual Rally
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that includes radical work rules for Medicaid enrollees ages 19 to 55 in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling. This bill could result in millions of people losing access to Medicaid! You can read the full press release from The Arc of the United States here.

We need to stop this in its tracks and tell Congress to keep Medicaid OUT of government funding negotiations. To take action you can send two separate letters from The Arc US and The Arc New York expressing the need to preserve Medicaid.

The Arc of the United States and coalition partners are hosting a Save Medicaid Online Rally on Wednesday May 24th at 4:30pm ET, joined by Senator Bob Casey and other Congressmembers, care advocates, and grassroots activists from around the country. Medicaid work rules and program cuts would result in millions of people losing access to critical support. The Save Medicaid Online Rally is an opportunity for supporters to learn more about the fight over Medicaid – and to take action to protect it.

You can register to join the event here. And find a toolkit here to help spread the word to your networks!
Registration Is Open for the Summer Leadership Institute!
Registration is open for The Arc US 2023 Summer Leadership Institute, taking place July 24 - 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada! Register today to take advantage of the early bird rate.
Join The Arc of the United States and Arc Chapters from around the country to engage in meaningful discussions and develop skills you can replicate, tailor, and apply directly back into your local communities. Whatever your position and however long you’ve been at The Arc, there is something for everyone! Learn from over 40 nationally recognized speakers and hear from The Arc’s staff around the country who are tackling the same challenges and situations in their own chapters.
The event also features a buddy system where first timers are paired with veteran attendees to guide them through the program and networking opportunities. The best teacher is experience, and whether it's your first SLI or your 20th, your peers have tons to share with you. Register today!
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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