Public Policy for the People: February 3, 2020
Volume 6, Issue 2 • 2020 Legislative Session • February 3, 2020
Hello, advocates! We are back with the second issue of our 2020 Public Policy for the People, GCDD's public policy newsletter. This electronic-only newsletter goes out approximately every other week during the legislative session.
We have had a busy two weeks since our first issue went out, including budget week, our first Advocacy Day, and the introduction of many important bills!
Continue reading to stay up-to-date on what's happening in the 2020 legislative session, and how you can be involved.
See you at the Capitol!
You Can Get Involved!
There are many ways to get involved in the 2020 legislative session! We have public policy calls, five Advocacy Days and so many more ways you can get advocate all year round.
Sign up for GCDD Advocacy Days!
Check out more details below.
Join our Public Policy Phone Calls at 9:30 AM on:
February 10, February 24, March 9 & March 23.
Dial in at 1-605-475-4063, Code: 737091
Find out who represents you in your state legislature with Open States.
GCDD invites you to join its Advocacy Network and work together to create a better place for Georgians with disabilities.
Looking Ahead: Advocacy Days are Here!
- Feb 6: Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE) Day (SOLD OUT)
- Feb 19: Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Day (SOLD OUT)
- Feb 27: School to Prison Pipeline (SToPP) Day
- Mar 11: Employment Day
Click here to register for Advocacy Days
Be in the Know: All About the Budget!
Governor Kemp officially released his budget recommendations for the amended fiscal year 2020 (AFY20) and the fiscal year 2021 (FY21) (see below for more details on what exactly "fiscal year" means). As mentioned in our previous issue, the Governor has requested most state agencies cut their budgets by 4% for AFY20 and 6% for FY21. These cuts have resulted in serious concerns for us at GCDD and numerous organizations and citizens across Georgia. You can read the almost 400 page document by viewing the Governor's Budget Reports, but we also wanted to provide you with these highlights from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities' FY21 budget:
- $34,781 cut to GCDD's IPSE funding.
- $50,000 cut to eliminate funding for supported housing in Forsyth County for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- $1 million dollar cut to reduce funds for intensive family supports for people with developmental disabilities (specific to Bobby Dodd Institute).
- $1 million dollar reduction for assistive technology research through Georgia Tech.
- $2.5 million dollar reduction for supported employment adult mental health services
- $8.3 million dollar reduction for behavioral health services
- $3.5 million reduction in supported employment for child and adolescent mental health services
- No NEW NOW/COMP waiver slots (first time in a decade that the Governor has not requested new slots to help reduce the over 6,000 person waitlist)!
The above highlights are just a few of the concerns we have with the proposed budget cuts. Adding to our concerns, is the disproportionate cuts to community-based care. Although DBHDD was requested to cut it's budget by 6%, crisis services were only cut by 3% which meant that the bulk of cuts (well above 6% in some cases) came from community-based services. For example, the $1 million dollar cut to Bobby Dodd's family support dollars represents an almost 25% cut! Research shows us that the more we take from community-based prevention and early intervention, the more we end up spending in crisis services.
If you would like to share your concerns, please reach out to the following committee members (especially if you are their constituent!):
Human Development and Public Health Subcommittee
Subcommittee Chair: Senator Renee Unterman
- Senator Dean Burke (Vice-chair)
- Senator Chuck Hufstetler
- Senator Butch Miller
- Senator Horacena Tate
- Senator Ben Watson
Human Resources Subcommittee
Subcommittee Chair: Representative Katie Dempsey
- Representative Tom Kirby (Vice-chair)
- Representative Tommy Benton
- Representative Emory Dunahoo
- Representative Michele Henson
- Representative Don Hogan
- Representative Henry “Wayne” Howard
- Representative Karen Mathiak
- Representative Greg Morris
- Representative Mary Margaret Oliver
- Representative Bert Reeves
When you reach out, make sure to:
- Introduce yourself and let them know if you live in their district
- Tell them why you are calling (e.g., I am calling to discuss the lack of NOW/COMP waiver slots in the Governor’s recommended budget)
- Tell them why this is important to you (e.g., I am on the waitlist, my family member/friend is waiting for services, etc.)
- Tell them what you would like them to do (e.g., I would like you to include the addition of new waiver slots in the budget)
- Thank them for their time!
Fiscal Year (FY): The state of Georgia organizes their budget by fiscal years, which do not line up with calendar years. You will often see Fiscal Year abbreviated to FY. Fiscal Year 2021, or FY20, covers July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021. Some people call this the Big Budget.
Amended Fiscal Year (AFY): Since it is hard to predict exact spending so far in advance, the Georgia General Assembly always passes an Amended Fiscal Year Budget to reflect actual spending. This is often abbreviated to AFY. Some people call this the little budget.
Bills to Watch!
- HB 444: Dual Enrollment Act
- HB 804: Georgia Equal Employment for Person with Disabilities Code
- HB 839: Employment Security for People with Disabilities
- HB 842: Gracie's Law (ends organ transplant discrimination for people with disabilities)
- HB 845: Additional Compensation for Teachers with Special Education Certification
- HB 849: Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act
- SB 125: Adult Changing Stations
- SB 291: Georgia Death with Dignity Act
- SB 330: PeachCare Public Option Program
- SB 335: Foster Children and Foster Families
Federal Update: CMS Block Grant Guidance
Thursday, January 30th CMS released new guidance allowing states to seek waivers to block grant portions of their Medicaid program. Read more about the guidance in CMS' Healthy Adult Opportunity Fact Sheet.
For more information on how the disability community might be impacted, read AUCD's Policy Talk Blog
Public Policy for the People e-newsletter is distributed every other week during the State of Georgia's legislative session. The next publication dates are February 17, March 2, March 16 and March 30.
Tags: GCDD, Advocacy, public policy