Senate Leaves Budget Cuts at DDS, Other Disability Amendments Pass

Massachusetts State HouseAs the House and Senate begin Conference Committee, The Arc asks you to support our
three highest priorities for the DDS (Dept. Developmental Services) budget –by asking your legislators to talk to their respective conferees*.  If one of your legislators is a conferee please reach out and directly discuss these priorities with that legislator or his/her aide:

  1. Hold House Version 5911-2000 -Transportation 22,651,781 ($1 Mil cut if not held)
  2. Hold and Increase House Version by $4.645 Million, 5920-2025 Day and Employment Services to 196,841,335 (to prevent 5% cut in employment-address gap)
  3. Hold Senate Version 5920-5000 Turning 22 at $8 Million to address rising numbers

Other priorities include holding House version of Family Support Respite and Senate Version of Aging Needs.

Senate Budget Analysis

The Senate DDS budget remained the same as the Senate Ways and Means budget.  Five DDS amendments were in play and these included: Day and Employment Services, lead sponsor Joan Lovely, Community Residential Services, Jennifer Flanagan lead sponsor, Transportation, John Keenan lead sponsor, Comm. Based Employment, Joan Lovely again as lead sponsor, and Autism Division, Barbara L’Italien, lead sponsor.  The Arc, ADDP and other groups focused more energy on Day and Employment, and Residential given the cuts projected for both accounts.

None of the DDS amendments passed.  We appreciate the work of our sponsors and co-sponsors.  We will list all of them on our website.  We will continue to educate our policy makers in the administration and legislature about the impact of the shortfalls. Although in general supportive, we are disappointed that we were unable to make the case necessary to obtain the additional funds.

Positive News in Senate Budget

An amendment to address technical language in ABLE account law was sponsored successfully by Barbara L’Italien.  The language changes will allow the Massachusetts law (passed prior to federal ABLE act legislation) to conform to federal law.  We expect no problems in conference with this amendment.

Sen. Lovely successfully filed an oral health amendment which added $250,000 was added to dental health for those with developmental disabilities. $100,000 of that amount will be to promote more dental care by all dentists for our constituents.  Dental care is a big issue for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Jason Lewis successfully sponsored the “Community First Choice” (CFC) amendment.  The Arc had advocated for this program during the Patrick administration.  It allows for personal assistance services to those who need cueing and prompting and not necessarily physical assistance.  It also will modernize our present personal care attendant program and further addresses institutional bias in services delivery.  To learn more about this program you can visit The Arc here.

or here to learn about other states which already adopted Section 1915 K or CFC.

Patrick O’Connor successfully filed a bill regarding tracking devices to assist people who wander with “certain disabilities” specifically citing those with dementia, autism and Alzheimer’s.

There also were two welfare amendments that affect people with disabilities in general (and some of our constituents).  These passed through leadership by the Mass Law Reform Institute and sponsors Barbara L’Italien and Michael Barrett.  The L’Italien amendment holds our state standard for TAFDC (Welfare) Disability eligibility.  This is a big issue for 2200 families.

The Barrett amendment keeps in place the longstanding Caretaker Exemption from TAFDC work rules and time limits for parents who need to care for a close relative with a disability.  This impacts 1,100 parents.  A third amendment by Ken Donnelly allows TAFDC recipients 60 days for a job search if they apply for benefits.

We support holding all these Senate amendments in conference committee.  All amendments can be found here.



The Arc asks you to support our three highest priorities for the DDS (Dept. Developmental Services) budget –by asking your legislators to talk to their respective conferees*.  If one of your legislators is a conferee please reach out and directly discuss these priorities with that legislator or his/her aide:

  1. Hold and Increase House Version by $4.645 Million, 5920-2025 Day and Employment Services to 196,841,335  (to prevent 5% cut in employment-address gap)
  2. Hold House Version 5911-2000 -Transportation 22,651,781 ($1 Mil cut if not held)
  3. Hold Senate Version 5920-5000 Turning 22 at $8 Million to address rising numbers

**Each branch will choose three conferees to negotiate the conference committee budget; typically it would be Chairpersons, Vice Chairs and ranking Minority member.  If this year holds to tradition these would be:  Chairs Brian Dempsey and Karen Spilka; Vice Chairs Kulik and DiDomenico; and Ranking Minority members, Vin deMacedo and Todd Smola.

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