Public Policy for the People: 28 January, 2018
Call to Action: Call your State Rep. Ask them to support the Governor's rec. for 125 new NOW/COMP waivers, and then ask for an additional 475 waivers for a total of 600 new NOW/COMP waiver slots.
- Catch our weekly phone call, every Monday during session at 9:30 am. Dial in at 1-888-355-1249, Code: 232357
- Join our Advocacy Network
- Read upcoming Public Policy for the People newsletters: 2/12, 2/26, 3/12, 3/26
2018 GCDD Advocacy Days
Jan 31: Employment
Feb 14: Medicaid
Feb 22: Inclusive Post-Secondary Education
Feb 15: UNLOCK! Coalition
Mar 15: Medicaid
Be in the Know: Rumblings Under the Gold Dome
What a wild two weeks under the Gold Dome! With snow, budget hearings, and advocacy days - GCDD's Public Policy Team has been quite busy.
GCDD held its very first Advocacy Day of 2018, focusing on DD Waivers. Despite some minor technical difficulties with our Facebook live stream, the day was a huge success. We hope you will register for some of our upcoming advocacy days.
We also ran into advocates at the following events: Spectrum Day, Mental Health Day, and Sickle Cell Day. Its always so nice to see other friendly faces down at the Capitol.
DBHDD also released their Planning List Report: Multi Year Plan in response to the budget language we all advocated for last year. One key point is DBHDD has suggested serving 600 new NOW/COMP waiver participants in Year 1, but has only asked for 125 new NOW/COMP waivers (also the Governor's recommendations). With the House of Representative's Appropriations Committees holding budget hearings at the moment, now is the time to make your voice heard! Be sure you have called your Representative to ask them to support the Governor's recommendation for 125 new NOW/COMP waivers, and then ask for an additional 475 waivers for a total of 600 new NOW/COMP waiver slots. Put in in your address to find out who your member in the House of Representatives at openstates.org
Both the House and the Senate have service animal bills now. The House bill, HB 288 would create penalties for using fake service animals, penalties for harming a service animal, and would allow the Department of Human Services to "authorize private service organizations ...to create and issue information cards containing the department's seal" that explain the rights and penalties associated with service animals. The Senate version, SR 467 would simply create a study committee to explore the problem. See GCDD's Public Policy Director talking about the issue here.
Other things of note, GCDD attended the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute's Insights Conference. There we learned about "A People First Economic Vision for Georgia," GBPI's vision for Georgia's future. We encourage you to check it out.
The GA General Assembly also released their tentative calendar for the the rest of session.
Sine Die: Referring to the 40th Legislative Day, tentatively March 29th this year, Sine Die is the last day of the Georgia General Assembly. This means it is the last day a bill can pass and be sent to the Governor for signature.
Crossover Day: Always taking place on the 28th Legislative Day, tentatively February 28th this year, of the the GA General Assembly, Crossover Day is the deadline for legislation to move from the House to the Senate, or vice versa. If it does not make this deadline, the bill is dead.
Around Town with UNLOCK!
Welcome back policy advocates! We hope you took advantage of the information shared in our first UNLOCK! article. We shared the website, openstates.org, to help you find your legislator and their contact information.
Now, we encourage you to reach out and introduce yourself to your State Senator and State Representative. One terrific way to make this contact is by leaving a message with their office assistants. You can also ask for a meeting at their office if you need time for a longer conversation. Or - you can try "working the ropes" at the Capitol for a short conversation about a specific state legislative issue. Most of us have never heard of "the ropes", so here is a brief description:
- The Senate and the House have “Chambers” on opposite sides of the 3rd floor of the State Capitol which are large meeting rooms where they come together, usually between 10am-noon on legislative days, to debate issues and discuss bills.
- Just outside the doors of each chamber are red velvet ropes. Legislators are asked to leave the chamber to meet with advocates, lobbyists, and – YOU – their constituent at these ropes.
- To make this happen, fill out a small form (white for the House and yellow for the Senate) with your legislator's name, your name, and what you would like to discuss. Be sure to include that you are a constituent!
- Hand that sheet to one of the women located at the desk near the Chamber doors. They will hand the sheet to a Page who is then responsible for going into the Chamber to locate your legislator.
- The legislator, if able, comes out to meet with you. She/he stands on the inside while you stay on the outside of the red velvet ropes.
- This is your opportunity to briefly discuss an issue that matters to you. You will have about 2 to 3 minutes to discuss a focused, state legislative issue with your legislator.
Working the ropes can seem confusing the first time you try, but it gets easier with practice! If you would like additional training on working the ropes, please join us at the next GCDD Advocacy Day on Wednesday, January 31.
Also, join the UNLOCK! Coalition, a partnership of powerful policy advocates and agencies, by clicking the link below to complete your membership. Join us for our next article to learn about sharing your story. We hope to see you at the Gold Dome on January 31!
Some Bills to Watch:
HB 668: (Price) Allows guardianship proceedings to begin when someone is 17 years old.
HB 635: (Cooper) Creates an at-risk adult protective investigative/coordination team in each judicial circuit in Georgia to coordinate investigations of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of people with disabilities or the elderly.
SB 322: (James) Requires nonelectric personal assistive mobility devices to have front and rear reflectors when used on highways or sidewalks, as well as all electric and nonelectric personal assistive devices sold after December 31, 2018 to have reflectors.
SB 357: (Burke) Creates the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia, a recommendation of the Lt. Governor Cagle's Health Care Reform Task Force.
SR 593: (Seay) A RESOLUTION urging the United States Congress to establish a policy whereby public facilities shall be required to provide adult changing stations.
SR 506: (Dugan) A RESOLUTION creating the Senate Study Committee on the Excessive and Duplicative Regulatory Oversight of Community Based Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Services.
HB 663: (Bennett) Hate Crime Legislation.
HB 660: (Hanson) Hate Crime Legislation.
SB 316: (Jackson) Hate Crime Legislation.
HB 669: (Trammel) Medicaid Expansion Bill.
HB 160: (Tanner) Creates the Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding.
SB 118: (Unterman) Change the age limit in private health care plan's coverage of autism to age 21.
HB 645: (Peake) To legalize possession of low THC oil and cultivation of cannabis for the production of low THC oil in the state of Georgia under certain conditions/medical conditions.
HB 482: (Trammel) Educational Scholarship Act - Allows parents to use the money the state would have spent on their child's public school education to pay for private school education.
Other Days of Note:
Jan 31: Champions for Children with Independent Living Georgia
Feb 7 & 8: Senior Week with CO-AGE
Feb 8: Independent Living Day with the Statewide Independent Living Council
Feb 15: ICM Day with the Interfaith Children's Movement
Feb 26: Justice Day with the Georgia Justice Project