Now that the state and federal legislative sessions are well underway, here’s a peek at where we stand with disability-related policies and issues.
Cuts to Medicaid and the repeal of the ACA would be detrimental to individuals with disabilities and their families.
Where do we stand on NOW/Comp waivers?
As discussed at our regional rally in December, as of September 2016, almost 9,000 Georgian’s are on the waiting list to receive a NOW/Comp waiver. Since December, Governor Deal only added enough waivers (250) to meet the legal requirement to fulfill the DOJ Extension Agreement, related to the Olmstead decision, which called for a move away from institutionalized care toward community-based services. However, it’s not too late late to ask your state legislator to allocate more money to increase waiver funding!
Some Georgia bills of note currently under consideration:
SB 53: Allowing for greater access to cultural resources in the community and the ability for caregivers to remain with their loved ones for assured safety, this Senate Bill provides for the installation and maintenance of adult changing stations in certain commercial public facilities for persons with disabilities.
HB 343: Co-sponsored by a member of our local delegation, Rep. Rynders, this bill proposes to remove and replace insensitive language describing individuals with disabilities from state code.
Upcoming advocacy/educational events:
- Parent to Parent (P2P) Southwest Georgia Regional Leadership Meeting: Wednesday, March 1, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm, Albany ARC’s Child Development Center, 2200 Stuart Avenue, Albany, GA 31707
- NOW Waiver Public Forums: The Department of Community Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) seek stakeholder input on how to enhance the waiver program. With five forums scheduled, two being virtual, there are many opportunities to have your voice heard on this issue affecting thousands of Georgian families.
- UNLOCK Coalition/GCDD advocacy days are scheduled for February 23 (Employment Advocacy Day), February 28 (Enable Work and Families Advocacy Day), and March 9 (Home and Community Advocacy Day).
- Democratic National Committee Disability Council meeting, Thursday, February 23, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta
- Teach In: Changing the Standard To Prove Intellectual Disabilities in Capital Punishment Cases, February 21, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 1790 Lavist Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
*Much of the above information has been adapted from sources and meetings provided by GCDD (Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities) and The Arc. To receive more frequent updates from the world of disability advocacy in Georgia and beyond, please sign up for their newsletters and follow them on social media.