Public Policy for the People: 27 February 2017

public policy for the people enews

Volume 3, Issue 5   •   2017 Legislative Session   •   27 February 2017

Let's get to work. Pick up the phone and call your Senator and Representative tomorrow! There is no time to waste and this will only take a moment!

Ponders by Phillip:

Phillip ModesittHow was Advocacy Day?

I was at the Capitol for Advocacy Day. Advocacy Day at the Capitol is where a bunch of students get together from Inclusive Post-Secondary Programs, like the one here at Kennesaw State University, to talk with legislators. I talked with legislators about what it means to have a disability. I also talked with all of the legislators about what it means to live in a university wide Residential Community. It means you get to socialize with other people of my age. I thought the day went pretty well and I would want to go to the Capitol for Advocacy Day again next year.

What is your goal for when you graduate?

My goal is to get a real paying job after I graduate. I would like to work at Must Ministries and Sparkles Roller Skating Rink. I would like to work at Sparkles Roller Skating Rink so I could be a D.J. and remix all the songs. I would like to work at Must Ministries because it is my passion and I would like to stock all the shelves and help the customers.

Working is important to me because I want to get a real paying job. It would give me more independence and it would also teach me time management. It would also give me the skills that I need to pursue a career like this after I graduate.

Having an internship here at Kennesaw State University's Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth has helped me with this process of getting a real paying job after I graduate by teaching me the skills and giving me the experience I will need. Having an internship at the Georgia Council and Developmental Disabilities has taught me the experience I need to interact with my coworkers and it also has taught me to interact professionally and how important being on time is.

Looking Ahead

Today is Day 25 in the Georgia General Assembly and everyone is in a mad dash to get their bill passed before Crossover Day this Friday. If a bill does not move from its original chamber into the other chamber by Friday it is dead until next year.

But first the Big Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The House passed their version of the Budget on February 16. Of note, there were no new DD waivers added besides the 250 recommended by the Governor as required by the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement. Remember, these waivers are mostly to move people out of the state hospitals. While a very important goal, this will not make a dent in the 8,688 Georgians waiting for a DD Waiver.

There was some exciting news in the world of Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) though. Simply put, IPSE got a big raise. Let me explain, up until this point, the IPSE funding of $200,000 from the Georgia General Assembly was funneled through GCDD. The House recommended that $25,000 stay with GCDD to provide technical assistance and the remaining $175,000 will move to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA). The House also recommended an increase of $325,000 in state dollars for IPSE. GVRA is one of those agencies that has a fabulous federal match, meaning for every $1 Georgia spends, the federal government kicks in $4. So the $500,000 in state dollars allocated for IPSE could total up to $2.5 million after the federal match. This money is earmarked both for scholarships and operating expenses of the IPSE programs.

While you should definitely pat yourself on the back for your awesome advocating which resulted in this increase for IPSE funding, there is still a lot of work to do so please don't get too comfortable. We need your help to advocate for more DD Waiver funding while the Senate is still deciding. Please call your Senator tomorrow, February 28th!

Calling Senator Renee Unterman: (404) 463-1368

Hello my name is _(your name)______.

I am calling to tell you we need more DD waivers because we have almost 9,000 people on the waiting list. We need you to add $12.1 million for 6 months of funding for more DD Waivers.

Also, please keep the House's increase in funds for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education.

Thank you.


Calling Senator Jack Hill: (404) 656-5038

Hello my name is _(your name)______.

I am calling to tell you we need more DD waivers because we have almost 9,000 people on the waiting list. We need you to add $12.1 million for 6 months of funding for more DD Waivers.

Also, please keep the House's increase in funds for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education.

Thank you.


Calling your Senator:

Hello my name is _(your name)______.

I am your constituent. I live in _(insert city or town)___

I am calling to tell you we need more DD waivers because we have almost 9,000 people on the waiting list.

Please tell Senator Unterman to add

1.  $12.1 million for 6 months of funding for more DD Waivers

2.  Also, please keep the House's increase in funds for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education.

Thank you.

       Go to to find out who your Senator is.

The Family Care Act, SB 201, would allow employees to use up to five days of their earned sick leave to care for a loved one. This would only apply to employees that work at least 30 hours a week at a business that employees over 25 people and already offers sick leave. The author of the Family Care Act, Senator Butch Miller, worked very hard on the version that passed the Senate, taking input from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and included their requested changes and additions to the bill. SB 201 passed the Senate this morning with a vote of 41 Yea, 10 Nay, and 1 Senator that did not vote. It will now move on to the House of Representatives. We need you to call your Representative today and tell them you support SB 201, the Family Care Act.

Another bill we care a lot about is HB 343, which would update Georgia code to replace the offensive 'MR word' with 'intellectual disability.' This bill is sponsored by freshmen Representative and Parent Advocate Scott Hilton. HB 343 unanimously passed the House this morning. It is now on to the Senate, which means we need you to call your Senator and tell them you support HB 343.

Lastly, SB 193, Changing the Standard to Prove Intellectual Disability, which is sponsored by Senator Elena Parent, has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but has not been scheduled for a hearing. With Crossover Day coming up, we are running out of time. We need you to call the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them to schedule SB 193 for a hearing before Crossover Day.

Senator Jesse Stone: (404) 463-1314

Senator Bill Cowsert: (404) 463-1366

Senator Blake Tillery: (404) 656-0089

Senator Hunter Hill: (404) 463-2518

Senator John F Kennedy: (404) 656-0045

Senator William Ligon Jr.: (404) 463-1383

Senator Joshua McKoon: (404) 463-3931

Senator Curt Thompson: (404) 463-1318

Senator Greg Kirk: (404) 463-5258

Senator Harold Jones II: (404) 463-3942

Calling the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee:

Hello my name is _(your name)______.

I am calling to tell you that I support SB 193 because it would change the standard to prove intellectual disabilities in Capital Cases and protect Georgians with intellectual disabilities from being executed for the crimes. We need you to schedule a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee before Crossover Day.

Thank you.

Other news, GCDD had a very successful advocacy day last Thursday. Advocates from all over Georgia came together to talk with their legislators about Employment. Extra exciting was the two groups of high school students who came to advocate for their futures. We hope in the future to see more student groups involved. We also want to give a big thanks to retired Congressman Tony Coelho, father of the Americans with Disabilities Act, who came and spoke with our advocates and addressed the Senate at the invitation of the ever supportive Senator Butch Miller.

Looking Ahead

Plan to attend GCDD Advocacy Days. Register online at:

  • Feb 28 – Enable Work and Families Advocacy Day (Family Care Act, Peach Work, and Phillip Payne Personal Assistance Program)
  • March 9 – Home & Community Advocacy Day (Elder & Disabled Abuser Registry, People First Language, Residential Housing Study Committee, Transportation)

Our Friend's Advocacy Days

Other Events

NOW Waiver Public Forum:
As some of you may know, the NOW waiver is up for renewal in September of 2017. The Department of Community Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, will be holding public forums to allow advocates such as ourselves to make recommendations for how the NOW waiver could be improved. To register to click here. It is very important that advocates show up and voice their opinions.

  • March 1 - 1:00 to 3:00pm at University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
  • March 6 - 7:00 to 8:00pm (Virtual Forum)
  • March 8 - 1:00 to 3:00pm at Clarence Brown Conference Center, Cartersville
  • March 9 - 11:00am to Noon (Virtual Forum)
  • March 13 - 1:00 to 3:00pm at Gwinnett Tech/Busbee Center, Lawrenceville

Keep Up to Date

  • Catch our weekly phone call, every Monday during session at 9:30am. Dial in at 1-888-355-1249, Code: 232357.
  • Join our Advocacy Network at
    To join you will need to provide an email address. When you sign up, be sure to select Public Policy Alerts and UNLOCK! alerts so you get the most up to date information. If you signed up last year, be sure to check and make sure your information is up to date. 
  • Read Public Policy for the People. Released every other Monday. - Mar 13, Mar 27

Learn the Lingo

Sine Die: Some of you may recognize this as a repeat from our Legislative Primer, but in case you missed that issue let us take a moment to review this very important term. Sine Die is Latin for "without day." In Georgia, sine die refers to Day 40 which is the last day of session. This year, sine die will be on March 30. This is the last day a bill can pass, otherwise it must wait until the next year. Fun Fact: legislators celebrate by throwing paper up in the air - similar to the last day of school.

New Bills to Watch

As always, for a complete list of bills we are tracking, click here.

SB 237: Would require motorized wheelchairs and scooters sold in Georgia to have reflectors. (Donzella James).
HB 486: Proxy Caregivers: Would allow non-medical professionals to train proxy caregivers to perform health maintenance activities for disabled individuals.

Quick Tip:  HB = House Bill    SB= Senate Bil

Tags: GCDD, Advocacy, public policy