Advocacy can mean many things both in regard to what and the how. The what for us is—working toward policies, funding, laws, regulations and other types of outcomes which advance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families (see our mission here ). On a simple level, the “how” means encouraging, pleading, urging, and providing justification. But it gets more complex when you apply the “how” to “where”. There is the administration of the state or federal government, the legislature, the courts, school committees, etc.
The advancements of our present age didn’t come easily and require vigilance and yes, advocacy. Further advocacy for our cause requires people –anyone who cares about disabilities and wishes to build a good life in the community. Services cost dollars, rights require laws and regulations and understanding takes public education. Much has been done, but there continues to be work to do. The Advocacy pages share areas in which we are most involved and tools. Our priorities evolve over time. This page provides an index of the section and government affairs headlines.
On May 11, the Senate Ways & Means Committee released its FY’22 budget. The proposed budget reflects the legislature’s efforts to alleviate the challenges and difficulties the Commonwealth, and particularly the disability community, has faced this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also puts forth a thoughtful plan on how we move forward in an equitable way. The Committee’s budget invests over $2.39 billion in a variety of services and programs that assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism. We’re pleased to see the Senate maintain the House FY’22 budget increases in the DDS line items, including Day and Employment ($15 million increase), Transportation ($7 million increase) and Family Support ($7 million increase), with a total increase of $29 million.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its FY’22 budget today. The Arc is thankful for the increases in the DDS line items over the Governor’s budget, also included by the House.
This week, Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will “reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries effective May 10th and put plans in place for further reopening on May 29th and August 1st.” What wasn’t said is very important to our community: When will re-opening of our community day and employment services take place?
Breaking News: The House Ways and Means Budget Release Includes Full Funding for The Arc’s DDS Budget Asks
The Arc is grateful for a remarkable outcome on this step of our budget advocacy. We greatly appreciate the leadership of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Aaron Michlewitz, and to the Speaker of the House, Ron Mariano.