Volume #21 – Issue #2
INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: YOUR PARTICIPATION IS NEEDED IN ALBANY TO FIGHT FOR MINIMUM WAGE AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
As the Governor failed to include any funding in his 30-Day Budget Amendments for minimum wage or development, CP of NYS, ALIA, DDAWNY, IAC, NYSARC, and SANYS will initiate “Inclusive Democracy In Action” (IDA) beginning March 1. The full list of dates for IDA can be found on the registration form and on the calendar. All associations and their members are invited to participate.
“Inclusive Democracy In Action” is an exercise of the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), as well as their families and staff, to make their voices heard by visiting their legislators to comment on the proposed State budget. It is consistent with the core principals of inclusion and community integration and, of course, with the principals of our Democratic society.
Everyone should participate.
The initiative would deploy small numbers of individuals with I/DD, family members, and staff from around the State on a regular basis to speak to their legislators “off-the-floor,” in the back of the Senate and Assembly Chambers. Details (number of people, frequency, etc.) will be adjusted depending on circumstances.
This unique initiative is being undertaken because of the extremely grave budget situation.
How will “Inclusive Democracy In Action” work?
- Small groups of people with disabilities, staff, and/or family members will meet with their state legislator “off-the-floor.” Off-the-floor meetings (just outside the Senate and Assembly Chambers) provide maximum visibility for us and our issues.
- Agencies/parents/people interested in participating will email the registration form to their Association representative (listed below with email address and cell phone number) to indicate when they wish to participate and other pertinent details such as the provider agency, contact person’s name, email, and cell phone number, names and addresses of participants (individuals with I/DD, DSPs or other staff and family members), name of each person’s State Senator and Assemblymember, whether the participant is staff, a person with I/DD, or family member. To find each participant’s Senator/Assemblymember, click on the following links: Senators (http://www.nysenate.gov/) – Assemblymembers (http://assembly.state.ny.us/).
- That information will be checked against a central registry/calendar for all Associations to see if the proposed dates are filled or if alternative dates should be selected.
- Once a date is confirmed, the Association representative will call each participant’s Senator and Assemblymember to indicate that one of their constituents will travel to Albany to meet with them and ascertain if the member wants to meet “off-the-floor” or in their office.
- Driving and parking instructions can be found here.
- After you enter the Capitol Building, go to the third floor and a representative of one of the Associations will meet you in the back of the Senate Chamber.
- The hours for “Inclusive Democracy In Action” will be roughly 1:30 to 4:30 PM. Please see the calendar for dates and times.
Again, this initiative is intended for Legislative session days. A listing can be found on the registration form.
Your participation is important. This budget poses a grave risk to our services.
Remember, this is a dedicated activity. It is intended to give people with disabilities, family members, DSPs, volunteers, and everyone the opportunity to exercise their right to control their destiny by making their voices heard with their elected officials.
List of Association Representatives/email/cell phone
Barbara Crosier – CP of NYS – firstname.lastname@example.org – (518) 424-3198
Ben Golden – NYSARC – GoldenB@nysarc.org – (518) 225-6316
Winifred Schiff – IAC – email@example.com – (917) 750-1497
Stephen Holmes – SANYS – firstname.lastname@example.org – (518) 796-8769
Margaret Raustiala – ALIA – email@example.com – (631) 521-1458
J.R. Drexelius – DDAWNY – firstname.lastname@example.org – (716) 316-7552
TELL GOVERNOR & LEGISLATORS DSPs DESERVE A LIVING WAGE
Call the Governor and your Legislators today and please tell them not to forget us. Governor Cuomo has proposed a $15 minimum wage for all but he failed to put any funding in for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), special education staff and other low wage workers whose rate is set by the State. Tell the Governor and your Legislators that they MUST fund any minimum wage increase in their final budget agreement!
Staff who support people with disabilities deserve an increase along with the $15 minimum wage.
Everyone needs to CALL OR WRITE the Governor and your Senator and Assemblymember today!
CALL and SAY:
Governor Cuomo and the Legislature MUST fund the $15 minimum wage proposal. Funding is critical to the health, safety, and well-being of people with developmental disabilities and it’s the right thing to do for the people who work tirelessly caring for them.
- Governor – (518) 474 -1041 and press 3 to speak to an assistant
- Senate Switchboard – (518) 455-2800 and ask for your Senator. You can find your Senator athttp://www.nysenate.gov/. Tell your Senator that they MUST fund any minimum wage increase in their final budget agreement.
- Assembly Switchboard – (518) 455-4100 and ask for your Assemblymember. You can find your Assemblymember athttp://assembly.state.ny.us/. Tell your Assemblymember that they MUST fund any minimum wage increase in their final budget agreement.
Click here to use the IAC website to automatically send emails and find your local legislators to tell the Governor to fund his minimum wage proposal. Printed letters can also be generated and sent to:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Once you click the link above, click on the box that says “take action.” If you want printed letters, click the circle on the right next to “printed letters” then fill in the sender information.
Please have staff, families, and everyone call or send letters to the Governor, your local legislators, and your local newspaper.
It is especially important that the Governor and Legislators hear from Direct Support Professionals, education staff, and other low wage workers who support people with developmental disabilities
Please tell Governor Cuomo and your Legislators not to forget us. Staff who support people with disabilities deserve an increase along with the $15 minimum wage!
Send this message to your staff, families, and groups. As a constituent you are very important to the Governor and your elected officials and you must tell them what is important to you NOW.
OPWDD WAIVER RENEWAL EXAMINED
CP of NYS has reviewed the proposed five year renewal for the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Comprehensive HCBS 1915(c) Waiver. The Waiver will cover the period from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2019. The CP document that examines the changes proposed by OPWDD in the Renewal Application can be found here.
OPWDD PLANS FIDA-IDD DEMONSTRATION
According to an OPWDD announcement, the FIDA-IDD, which focuses on long-term care and acute care services, will offer more opportunities for people to direct their own services, be involved in care planning, and live independently in the community.
The program will initially be available only in New York City, Long Island, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. For more information about the program, visit the OPWDD website.
DOH DELAYS IMPLEMENTATION OF MEDICAID TRANSPORTATION ENROLLMENT
In December, the NYS Department of Health (DOH) issued a letter stating that OPWDD day and residential programs that include transportation in their Medicaid rates would be required to use Medicaid-enrolled transportation providers beginning on April 1 of this year. After intensive advocacy from the Provider Associations and strong objections in a letter signed by CP of NYS and other associations, DOH and OPWDD agreed to meet with the Provider Associations in January to hear their concerns. As a result of those efforts, DOH sent a letter on February 2 announcing that the policy would be delayed. DOH said in its most recent letter that guidance on compliance with this policy will be issued in the coming months.
BARBARA CROSIER TESTIFIES ON BEHALF OF COPA, CP OF NYS
The Joint Legislative Hearing of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees on the Governor’s 2016-2017 Budget proposal was held on Wednesday, February 3. Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney presented testimony for OPWDD and answered questions from Senators and Assemblymembers. Additionally, Commissioner Ann Sullivan presented for OMH and Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez presented for OASAS.
Thanks to all your calls, letters, meetings, and communications, all the legislators were extremely well informed. All the Legislators at the hearing asked pointed questions Acting Commissioner Delaney. Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Chair Robert Ortt and Assembly Committee Chair Aileen Gunther were particularly well informed and are extremely strong advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. We are also fortunate that the newly appointed Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Catharine Young, prefaced her questions of the Acting Commissioner with the fact that she worked in the developmental disability field for 15 years prior to running for elected office.
Many political observers noted that they have never seen the Legislators so well informed and so passionate about the concerns of individuals with developmental disabilities, families, staff, and providers across the state. Thank you!
Here is the testimony that was presented on behalf of the Coalition of Provider Associations (COPA) which is comprised of ALIA, CP OF NYS, DDAWNY, IAC, and NYAEMP.
You can watch the hearing and the testimony here. Acting Commissioner Delaney’s testimony begins at 1 hour 40 minutes and the Senate and Assemblymembers questioning of her begins at 1 hour and 46 minutes. The COPA testimony begins at approximately 5 hours and 36 minutes.
This is just the beginning of our advocacy on the need to provide funding for a minimum wage increase, critically needed new supports and services and the transformation of OPWDD supports and services.
START A MISSION-DRIVEN BUSINESS TO INCREASE REVENUE
On Monday, March 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. CP of NYS will present Joe Kovler from Catapultian for an extended presentation on innovative business ideas. This session will offer models to consider as potential opportunities for mission-driven business development.
Mr. Kovler will be presenting live at the Affiliate Services Office in Cohoes, so you can attend in person or join via the web. The meeting will be presented via Zoom Room* video conferencing system.
Please let us know if you will be participating, and if you plan to do so in person or via the web, by contacting Cheryl Bradway at email@example.com.
Below is information on how to connect via the video conference system.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at https://CPofNYS.zoom.us/j/891872258
Or by Telephone at 1.408.638.0968 – Meeting ID: 891 872 258
Or a H.323/SIP room system:
H.323: 188.8.131.52 (US West) or 184.108.40.206 (US East)
Meeting ID: 891 872 258
*Zoom Room Information: Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing system that works with your conference room system, desktop or camera enabled iOS and Android mobile devices.
CONFERENCE SPEAKER MOVING UP IN SPORTS BROADCASTING WORLD
Jason Benetti is a talented young sports announcer with a big upside. He spoke at the CP of NYS Annual Conference in 2013 and 2014 when he was the play-by-play man for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Syracuse University graduate has been covering college football and basketball games for ESPN since 2011. He was recently named play-by-play announcer for television coverage of Chicago Cubs home games.
Benetti has compelling storylines as a young man from the Chicago area who has cerebral palsy. However, the Sox insist those aren’t the reasons he got the job. “He got the job because he’s really a good broadcaster, not because of the side stories,” Brooks Boyer, the White Sox chief marketing officer, said. “What stands out is his ability to broadcast a game.”
DDPC TO OFFER ON-LINE CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NYS DDPC) is offering an opportunity to post Disability-related events on their Disability News website.
Disability News New York was created to serve as a one-stop source for disability-related information, news, events, and programs. Informational events are listed by region and cover a variety of topics including:
- Early Care and Education, Inclusive Education, and Afterschool,
- Transition and disabilities,
- Advocacy, Leadership and disabilities,
- Housing and disabilities, and
- Employment and disabilities.
Email DisabilityNews@ddpc.ny.gov if you are interested in sharing regional and statewide events. In your email:
- Request an Organizational account to post on Disability News, and
- Request information on Event Submission Guidelines.
Basic information will be needed from you and your organization including:
- Sponsor of the event
- Name of the event
- An explanation of the event
- Days and times the event is taking place
- Where the event is taking place
- Contact person and public phone number for further information.
All submissions will be reviewed and approved by NYS DDPC before appearing on the website.