The base of the Grand Staircase at the State House was filled with nearly 100 families, new and returning legislators, professionals, and self-advocates on Tuesday morning. In attendance were Rep. Denise Garlick, Sen. John Keenan, Rep. Tram Nguyen, Rep. Donald Wong, Rep. Mindy Domb, Rep. Carole Fiola, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Kathy LaNatra and Rep. Tommy Vitolo.
On Monday morning, January 14, Brockton Area Arc’s Family Support Navigator Cathy Hickey, The Arc of Massachusetts Advocacy Alliance Coordinators Julie Heffernan and Herb Cabral, and ten family members – moms, dads, and a sister who was home from college on winter break – gathered at The Brockton Arc for “Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation.”
In this week’s Leo’s Letter, Executive Director Leo Sarkissian discusses The Arc of Massachusetts’ 2019 legislative goals, and how they relate to the fulfillment of our mission of enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, through advocacy for inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society.
Late in the informal session, the Committee on Public Counsel Services (CPCS) threw doubt on the due process components of Nicky’s Law. CPCS presented their concerns to leadership at the House of Representatives. The Arc worked swiftly with the Disability Law Center to formulate and share our response.
Today, it became clear that Nicky’s law, Senate 2606 would not pass the House of Representatives during the informal session. Bill sponsors informed The Arc that some legislators would oppose the bill on the floor given concerns generated regarding protections for employees by the Committee on Public Counsel Services (CPCS). It takes only one legislator to stop a bill during the informal session period which began in August.