Volume #20 – Issue #3
ASSEMBLY ONE-HOUSE BUDGET OUT BUT STILL WAITING FOR SENATE ONE-HOUSE
The Legislative Budget schedule called for each House to submit and pass their One-House Budget Proposal by March 12 so that final budget negotiations could begin in earnest. As of the writing of this article, the Assembly has submitted their budget bills but we have not seen the Senate bills. We have heard that there is an outstanding issue, possibly campaign finance reform, between the Senate Republicans and Senate Independent Democratic Conference, which make up the Senate ruling coalition.
Some highlights of the Assembly’s budget proposal include: a 2% trend/COLA for OPWDD and all Human Services programs (including Early Intervention); a 3% increase on 853 direct care costs; rejection of the Governor’s DISCO language; Early Intervention Fiscal Agent language requiring direct payment to providers for commercial insurance claims; and expands the Smart Schools Bond Act to 853 schools.
We will provide further detail as it becomes available and will be asking that all Affiliates contact their local Senators and Assemblymembers to include our priorities in the final bill that is negotiated between the Senate, Assembly and the Governor.
ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR WAGE INCREASE FOR DIRECT CARE WORKERS
Long Island Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg held a news conference in Albany on Wednesday calling on the Legislature to include funds in the final State Budget to provide a wage increase for direct care workers at non-profit agencies providing supports and services for people with developmental disabilities. The Assembly’s budget proposal includes a 2% trend/COLA for OPWDD and all the human services programs and Assemblymember Weisenberg and his colleagues argue that this must remain in the final budget agreement to provide a salary increase for direct care workers across New York State.
Most of these direct care workers earn very modest wages and have not had an increase in several years. For the fourth consecutive year the executive budget proposal excludes funding for an increase. Assemblyman Weisenberg and more than 100 of his colleagues have written a letter to Speaker Silver requesting that a salary enhancement be a top priority in this year’s budget.
“Throughout our entire state, direct caregivers can be found providing vital quality of life services to those who are truly unable to care for themselves,” said Assemblyman Weisenberg. “Their duties are often daunting, heartbreaking and physically challenging. The low salaries, coupled with years of no increases, have had a devastating impact on job retention in these positions. We have instituted and funded several initiatives recently that clearly indicate a legislative intent to protect vulnerable New Yorkers from harm when they rely on the care of others. We must now ensure that the workforce closest to these vulnerable individuals are valued and compensated with a living wage,” concluded Assemblyman Weisenberg.
FAMILY ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN IN PROGRESS
CP of NYS has joined with five other associations to coordinate family advocacy efforts in support of two major objectives in the NYS Legislature. The associations are asking families, staff, self-advocates and volunteers to urge their legislators, through phone calls and letters, to support adding funds to the state budget for development of additional day, employment and residential supports for people with disabilities living at home, and, for additional funding to increase salaries of direct support professionals employed in OPWDD voluntary programs and services.
The associations are also asking individual legislators to write their leaders urging them to include the critical additional funding in the state budget. In early March the associations began asking legislators to stand up during legislative sessions and speak out in support of the additional funding.
Members of the media across the state have also received news releases and phone calls informing them of the need for this additional funding.
If you have questions about the advocacy campaign, please contact Barbara Crosier at (518) 436-017 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CP of NYS, NYSARC & THE ALLIANCE HOLD TARGETED ALBANY LOBBY DAY
CP of NYS, NYSARC and The Alliance held an Albany lobby day on Monday, March 3, 2014. Executive Directors and key senior staff from each of the associations around the state came to Albany to meet with their Senators, Assemblymembers, the Governor’s Office, Division of the Budget and key staff. There were meetings with Senate Majority Leader Skelos, Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Farrell, Deputy Secretary for the Governor Courtney Burke and many others who are key to the budget negotiations.
Aside from the snow storm, that prevented some Executive Directors from traveling to Albany, it was a very successful and productive day.
DOH SUPPORTIVE HOUSING GRANT
Below is a link to a grant opportunity to provide rental subsidies and services for Medicaid recipients in a Health Home or eligible for a Health Home. Applicants must have support from an approved Health Home to apply. Applications are due May 23, but the anticipated funding contract period is April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, with a 12 month renewal possible at that time. The total anticipated amount available for this procurement is up to $8 million, (up to $4 million per year for two years). The maximum award made to any successful applicant will not exceed $400,000 per fiscal year. For complete details please visit the link below.
UCP NASSAU’S CHILDREN’S LEARNING CENTER RECOGNIZED FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION
The Children’s Learning Center (CLC) at UCP Nassau has been selected by Nassau BOCES to receive their Education Partner Award, given to individuals/organizations for their commitment to providing the best possible education for learners of all ages and abilities. Dee Berger, CLC Principal and twenty-three faculty members who have received honors in their own right, including Employee of the Quarter, the Joyce Acklin Memorial Award for Excellence, and the News 12/Dowling College Educator of the Month Award, have been invited to attend the prestigious awards ceremony scheduled for April 2nd.
The eighth annual awards program celebrates outstanding community and business leaders, nonprofit executives and volunteers, organizations, school board members, students, teachers and Nassau BOCES employees.
JAWONIO’S DIANA HESS, THREE OTHERS NAMED WOMEN OF LEADERSHIP AND VISION IN ROCKLAND COUNTY
Diana Hess, Chief Communications Officer at CP of NYS Affiliate Jawonio, is one of four women who were honored with theWomen of Leadership and Vision Award which recognizes community minded achievers for their vision, innovation and leadership towards improving the quality of life for others. The four were recognized at a March 8th luncheon hosted by the Nyack Center. The mission of the Nyack Center is to create connections across social, cultural and economic boundaries and to improve the life of all who live in the Nyack community.
Women in politics, non-profit leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, survivors, educators, doctors and artists have been honored for the last 10 years at the event, which takes place during Women’s History Month.