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ARCA – New Arena, Same Fight

New arena, same fight!

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Special session = special effort

We have been heard, and won’t be silent again!

As we head into summer, there’s one place that’s going to feel more heat than anywhere else in the state – The Capitol. After the Legislature passed a Budget with a modest increase for our system, they immediately blinked in a stare-down with the Governor. That means no 10% increase, and a thin promise to do something about the way our system is funded. What we did get is a “special session.” [watch the 40-minute video of the Senate discussing it.]

We are absolutely unwilling to back down in our demands – demands that our system be saved, that services be properly funded, and that the lives of people with developmental disabilities be treated as lives with value. We will not be made into a bargaining chip. We will not be ignored. And we will not stop until they #KeepThePromise!

How do you do this? You need to keep your connection with your representatives alive. Have you met them yet? Start by identifying your representatives. If they haven’t heard from you, they should! Build connections – because that’s what turns us from Budget line items into real people. We’ve compiled some helpful information from the Lanterman Coalition to get you going!

Advocacy matters. In the past week, your voices rang out across the state.

  • In Sacramento, the Associated Press, via SF Gate, reported on the rallies. The Budget “was a deep snub to people with disabilities and those who care for them.” Capitol Public Radio was also there. “Advocates for the developmentally disabled are furious after being left out of this year’s California budget deal. They held a tense rally at the Capitol Wednesday.” KCRA (Sacramento-NBC) came, too!
  • The San Francisco Chronicle described our community as being “…angry after additional funding for services was left out of the $115.4 billion deal.”
  • In Whittier, a rally (w/ photos) raised attention at City Hall.
  • Protests in Oakland drew crowds, as this photoset shows!
  • KUSI covered protests in San Diego, and the San Diego Union-Tribune had a photo spread.
  • And hundreds of people came out to San Francisco, San Jose (25-min video), and Los Angeles to show their support as well.

The result? Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins realized they had to respond. In a joint press release, they affirmed that “our commitment has not changed, only the venue.”

Now, the LA Daily News and Torrance Daily Breeze (LA News Group), in an editorial on the special session, are standing with us. “Legislators, you have the opportunity to improve the lives of 280,000 vulnerable Californians, plus the millions who love them, care for them and guide their development. Do not fumble this chance.” The Contra Costa Times also points out that “there’s a great opportunity now for Sacramento to solve the system’s problems.”

What’s so special about special sessions?*

Called by Governor Brown, the 2nd Extraordinary Session will focus on funding for a variety of programs, possibly based on a new tax on managed care organizations (MCOs, better known as health insurance companies). Creating this potential “MCO tax” will be a serious challenge. There are other possible ways of securing the funding and reform we need, but regardless of the method, if it happens this year, it’ll be in this special session.

Special sessions are very similar to the normal legislative process. Bills have to be introduced, heard in committees, and voted on. Bills will be titled “SBX2” and “ABX2,” meaning “Senate/Assembly Bill in Extraordinary Session #2,” and followed by a number. Some deadlines and other rules don’t apply, and all the work has to be focused on the topic of the session as described by Governor Brown. But otherwise, it looks a lot like the usual process! This means we’ll have legislators to talk to – both in Sacramento and in their districts – about how important it is that they #KeepThePromise. It means there will be hearings on bills for us to testify at. And it means we’ll be reaching out to you – the people whose voices were heard around the state.


Stay tuned, folks…
What happens next?
When is the best time and way to act?
Join our mailing list to find out.

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