Sunday, April 7, 2013

ACTION ALERT from The Arc and The United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration

Dear Friends,
Budget hearings in the Capitol are a rare opportunity to talk directly to some of the state's most powerful decision-makers.
For the last three years, the budget hearings have been key to stopping even worse cuts to our community's services and supports. Thank you to the hundreds of people who came to Sacramento to make your voices heard.
This year, the hearings may be key to stopping one big new cost for people with developmental disabilities and their families – and starting the process of actually making progress instead.
This year's hearings on the developmental services budget will be:
-         9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 11, in Room 4203 - Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 3.
-         1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, room to be announced - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1.
If you can come to Sacramento for one or both of the hearings, here's a list of items you can talk to the legislators about. Each speaker will get only a one or two minutes, so it's best to select just one or two items that you are passionate about. Speak from the heart.
There are three big items on the agenda. The subcommittees may vote on them at these hearings, or may wait until next month. They are:
Cover health insurance copayments and deductibles – The Brown administration wants to relieve regional centers of their obligation to cover the copays and deductibles for services in approved IPPs and IFSPs. We're asking for legislation instead to make it clearer that the regional centers must pay these costs. For more information – and to send an email to the Senate subcommittee before the hearing this Thursday if you haven't already sent one – please go  to this long URL:
End "family participation fees" – Two years ago, the Legislature imposed $150/$200 fees for community services – but only for two years. Now the Brown administration wants to make the fees permanent. We want to end the fees now!
Restore provider and regional center cuts – We're asking the Legislature to roll back the last 1.25% cut imposed in 2009. This is vital to start rebuilding our community supports and services.
There also three items that aren't on the agenda as of now, so no votes are likely this month. But we and others intend to use this opportunity to talk to the legislators and ask for action in the future. They are:
Restore the 2009 Early Start cuts – These cuts exclude thousands of at-risk children from getting the services that could prevent lifelong disabilities. And the cuts have thrown the entire early intervention system into disarray. We are asking to restore these cuts.
End unnecessary annual audits of small service providers - These expensive audits are far beyond what the IRS requires. We support the providers' request to change the state law to match the federal requirements.
Start planning to close the developmental centers – We have long supported closing these institutions to free people to live their lives in the community. This year we and others are asking for a comprehensive planning process, driven by each individual's IPP, to close them by a date certain.
Thank you for your advocacy.
Greg deGiere
Public Policy Director
The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California
1225 Eighth Street , Suit 350, Sacramento , CA 95814
916-552-6619 x16 (office)
916-441-3494 (fax)

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