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2020 LEGISLATIVE PLATFORM
The Arc of Florida is the first and most enduring of Florida’s advocacy organizations, supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1961. The Arc family is found throughout our great state and has 38 Chapters, collectively serving or supporting thousands of people to achieve a better quality of life.
The Legislative Platform for The Arc of Florida is focused on making systemic improvements to address underlying issues that impact access to those fundamental services needed to increase personal independence and meaningful engagement in the community for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. The platform will focus on five key areas, including Arc support for:
- Increasing levels of funding to adequately serve Floridians with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. The Arc supports a living wage for those engaged in direct services to assure the health, welfare and safety of those served. Wages are not sufficient to recruit, hire and retain workers needed to deliver these critical services. The Arc is asking for an 11% rate increase for Adult Day Training to help address this need.
- Maintaining and updating the iBudget Waiver as the best available and most efficient mechanism for delivery of services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Managed care is not a feasible option for people who require ongoing and lifelong services that will increase as they and their caregivers age.
- Access to affordable housing so that people are able to live inclusive lives in safe and secure homes as part of the community. The availability of affordable housing is decreasing as Florida’s population grows and we must be proactive in assuring people have their essential living needs met.
- Revising language for seclusion and restraint that promotes positive behavioral supports as a best and preferred practice, training on such practices for all educators, and limiting or eliminating the use of seclusion and restraint in educational settings.
- Ending organ transplant discrimination. For decades, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been denied access to these life-sustaining treatments. The Arc supports legislation to help address the rampant discriminatory and arbitrary medical decision-making practices that create these barriers.
The Arc of Florida does not agree with or support efforts that would limit, delay or reduce services, including changes that revert to institutionalization, which is known to be an ineffective way to serve people and denies them the dignity we all deserve.
Additional Notes as of 1/31/2020:
- The Arc’s Legislative Ask 2020 is included in Senate Appropriations, though currently listed at 2.6 million. The appropriations document is linked below. Reference row 61 for ADT. Link: https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/AHS/MeetingPacket/4851/8605_MeetingPacket_4851.pdf
- The Seclusion and Restraint Bills by Senator Book and Representative DuBose (versions SB 1644 and HB 1231) are advancing favorably. Links: http://m.flsenate.gov/Bill/1644/2020 and https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=69502&SessionId=89
- The Nondiscrimination in Organ Transplants Bills by Senator Bean and Representative Fischer (versions SB 1556 and HB 1179) are advancing favorably. Links: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspxBillId=69426& and https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=69420.
- State Funds for Housing Bills by Senator Mayfield and Representative Killebrew (versions SB 306 and HB 381) is supported in Governor DeSantis’s Budget and advanced favorably by Senate, but House favors sweep of funds. Links: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/306/?Tab=BillHistory and www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/381.
Click here to download a copy of the platform
Arc of Florida Response to iBudget Redesign
The Arc of Florida welcomes the opportunity to offer comments and share concerns on the iBudget Redesign Final Plan.
We appreciate inclusion of the public’s suggestions that we see as helpful, but also note that some parts of the plan could adversely impact people who receive services under the iBudget Waiver. The iBudget program serves over 34,500 people, but there are still more than 21,000 people on the waiting list. Current iBudget clients are eligible for institutional care and if everyone invoked their entitlement to this care, the cost to the state would increase by $3.4 billion annually.
Click here to learn more about this important topic.
As 2019 draws to a close and we say hello to 2020, I want to introduce you to a new feature on the Arc of Florida website, Chapters Helping Chapters.
The Arc of Florida would like to recognize Sheldon Hershman and The Arc Tampa Bay for lending a helping hand to Ridge Area Arc. The Arc Tampa Bay will be assisting Ridge Area Arc with conducting background screenings for the faculty and student mentors participating in Job-a-Palooza. Kathleen Border commented, “It absolutely saved us. We looked at lots of vendors that were mobile and completely unreasonable. If I am going to have to pay a bit more for a mobile service I would prefer to keep it in the Arc family.”
This is just one of many wonderful examples of how the Arc Family continually supports one another and how “We are Stronger Together!” We would like to thank Kathleen for sharing the story and allowing us to recognize Sheldon and the Arc of Tampa Bay.
CEO, The Arc of Florida