As we exit the “dog days of summer,” it may be a good time to share the past fiscal year’s advocacy work prepared by our Government Affairs team. It’s a short digest and we invite you to dig deeper by looking at our website, including the Advocacy Page which includes the State Budget, Bill Priorities and Policy Issues.
On August 14, Minute Man Arc self-advocates Janice Smith, Valerie Lessa, and Nora McShane, along with staff member Yah-Bleelay Gaye, traveled to the Woburn Senior Center to meet with Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s Constituent Services Representative Jay Higgins. Mr. Higgins specializes in social security, medicaid, and medicare benefits (often referred to as “senior issues,” even though this group of benefits is important to the disability community, as well).
The formal legislative session (190th) ended Tuesday (7/31/18) at midnight. Though we had luck with the passage of S2606, the abuse registry bill (“Nicky’s Law”) in the Senate, we were not as fortunate with the House. Given the volume of bills, the veto override actions and the short amount of time, “Nicky’s Law” (H4026) did not get out of the House Ways and Means Committee to be placed before the full House for a vote. There were a number of larger bills that demanded much time like healthcare, economic development, energy, opioids, education, and housing.
Today is one of those good days. Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated the positive news from the State House’s Conference Committee led by Chairs Jeffrey Sanchez and Karen Spilka. The conferees gave us the highest funding possible from the two versions of the budget released earlier this session. At 7:57 pm last night, Mike Moore’s office gave us word that the Senate had passed Nicky’s Law – a registry bill which will prevent staff who have abused adults in the Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS) program or service to work in another DDS setting.