On Tuesday, January 22, we had a successful, standing room only event at the Grand Staircase at the State House with over 100 people in attendance. It was the third year for our Supporting Families event, which allows individuals with disabilities and their families an opportunity to be supported in their advocacy with legislators. We also invited new legislators to learn about the issues, as part of our biennial New Legislator Reception. Our champion speakers, Senator John Keenan and Representative Denise Garlick, were terrific.
Rep. Garlick has filed a bill concerning the workforce shortage crisis which both addresses our short-term goals and sets a foundation for a long-term solution to this top priority issue. We also had a negotiation meeting last week on the Abuse Registry (Nicky’s Law). Thank you to Rep. Campbell and Chair Khan for their continued leadership on the bill in the House.
Yesterday, the Governor’s budget was released with major budget hikes for seven-line items related to community services. Thank you to the Governor, Secretary Sudders, and Commissioner Ryder for recognizing our constituents and families. The budget now enters the legislature process where our concerns will compete with others for attention. March 6 is the date of our 41st Annual Legislative Reception, and it will serve as a focal point in the second stage of our 2019-2020 advocacy campaign.
In a very real sense, the race is on and we’ll need the participation of all who care about individuals with disabilities.
Leo V. Sarkissian