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2011 Legislative Update

Since the Social Services Committee held the interim meeting in January and took public comment, they are not expecting to have any more public comment. The committee has been trying to work with the list they have and implement cuts while funding what they can. This week they re-prioritized the list to send to Executive Appropriations. Senator Jones made the motion to take items including autism pre-schools, transportation, respite, provider rates, early intervention, etc. off the list and fund them with tobacco funds. Using tobacco settlement funds will require a change in statute. Once they work out the budget they will open a bill requiring this usage of funds.

The good news is that we are on the list to be funded, the bad news is that they will have to pass actual legislation to fund the NEW list and if something goes wrong with that idea, we aren’t sure where that will leave us. We need to continue to talk to our own legislators, and the Executive Appropriations Committee to remind them of the importance of the autism programs.

The guardianship issue seems to be getting better, but not fully resolved. They are recognizing that the disabled population is different than the elderly, but they are suggesting that parents must use the attorneys on their list. Geez, lots of lists around huh?

Service animals constitute dogs only now. Glad we took the time to clarify that.

Rep. Menlove has an idea for a pilot program that would have the people who are getting Medicaid and who are able, do community service to offset the Medicaid costs. The Health Department would administer that if it passes.

Rep. Menlove also wants people receiving services through Rehabilitation be invited to work, even if it’s below minimum wage, as it would create some respite for the caregivers, while the disabled individual is getting services.

Carson Smith day at the capitol is February 22nd from 10-2. We are going to thank the legislators for supporting the scholarship as well as educate new legislators of the importance of it. Everyone should come!!