On Tuesday, June 13, workforce bills had strong representation as part of a hearing before the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, with the most testimonies coming on behalf of The Arc/ADDP’s H171 and S83.
In addition, the bill aligns well with budget advocacy by the Collaborative of Trades, The Arc, and others for using the 75th percentile of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salaries benchmark of similar occupations.
The committee ran a very orderly hearing, keeping individuals’ testimonies to three minutes, and panels’ to six minutes. The chairs (Representative Livingstone and Senator Kennedy) announced at the start of the hybrid hearing the limits they would keep, which also included keeping any testifier to one seating even if they had more than one bill for which to testify. This was announced at the beginning of the hearing.
In the official State House News Service report, Kelly Hutton from Center of Hope was quoted, along with colleague in human services Lydia Todd of NFI (on behalf of the Parity bill) and parent Cynthia Reed (Workforce bill H171/S83).
Others speaking on behalf of H171/S83:
- Ellen Attaliades, CEO of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP)
- Chris White, Road to Responsibility
- Staff from Nashoba Learning
- Jean Goldsberry and self-advocate from Minute Man Arc
- Maura Sullivan and Chris Hubbard on behalf of Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM)
- Cody, a self-advocate from the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC)
- Lauri Medeiros with The Arc and on behalf of MassFamilies (testified with Leo Sarkissian)
- Rick Glassman from the Disability Law Center
Several capstone participants in the Northeast Arc Self-Advocacy program attended the session to show their support and become more familiar with the State House and their legislators.
Representative Sean Garballey, Representative Simon Cataldo, and Representative Smitty Pignatelli all appeared in support of the legislation, but the chairs asked sitting legislators NOT to testify publicly due to the large turnout.
Thank you to all who testified and to Maura Sullivan for organizing in advance of the hearing and a special testimony webinar last week to further advance H171 and S83!