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.
The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates the release of the Massachusetts Conference Committee Budget. We are grateful to the members of the Conference Committee who not only recognized the importance of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Family Support and Day and Employment Services, but also funded the higher numbers in the line items for Transportation and the Autism Children’s Waiver. In each DDS line item included in conference, the committee funded the higher amount.
On Friday, April 13, 2018, House of Representatives members submitted 1400 amendments to the recently released House Ways and Means Committee FY 19 budget. We have actively encouraged House members to sign on as cosponsors to seven of those amendments. These amendments ask that funding be increased for budget line items affecting supporting families services and supporting adult services. We encourage all to contact their representatives to sign onto to these amendments if their member has not already done so for each of the amendments.
The Arc of Massachusetts (The Arc) celebrates the release of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget announced by Chair Jeffrey Sánchez. Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc, stated, “Chair Sánchez and the House Ways/Means Committee members not only recognized the importance of Turning 22 for graduating students with special needs, but have raised Family Support and Employment funding by a total of 2 Million dollars.”
Governor Baker’s proposed budget for FY 2019 again keeps pace with the DDS Turning 22 program as more than 1,000 students graduate into adult services. In addition, a $5 Million increase is budgeted for Autism Omnibus which addresses those newly eligible with autism[i].
On July 7, the Conference Committee lowered state budget line items– including DDS — due to the continued uncertainty of state revenues. On July 17, Governor Charlie Baker vetoed an additional $320 million on top of the legislature’s reduction, including a cut of more than $7 million from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) budget. The impact of these reductions means uncertainty for many people. These decisions were also affected by the continued uncertainty caused by Capitol Hill policy makers. Although we believe that the legislature will override the Governor’s vetoes, we don’t know for certain and, of course, will advocate for further dollars given the needs of people who are served by the Department of Developmental Disabilities.