Let the hearings begin

Published Jan. 26, 2009

While some committees held public hearings on the effect of the Governor’s budget on its citizens, others held work sessions to get a better idea of what agencies needed and the effect of proposed budget cuts. This week will hold still more work sessions as legislators grapple with understanding the essential components of agencies and try to find out where cuts could be made. In addition, legislators in the Senate heard were updated on a report concerning legislation passed in 2004 concerning bullying and harassment in schools, they learned that the legislation they passed had no impact in reducing the problem.

Some bills have started making their way through the process and through the first step of being heard. HB 1152 would allow those with disabilities to voluntarily request a sticker for their car to alert first responders that the driver has a disability, whether developmental, physical, mental or medical. Concerns have been expressed by several groups and changes are being proposed.

This week the Senate is scheduled to hear testimony on SB 5117 and the House will hear HB 1226, which will put the Children’s Intensive In-home Behavior Supports program into state statute. SB 5203, the autism insurance parity bill known as Shayan’s Law, will also take public testimony this week.

This week starts our weekly Advocacy Days which happen every Wednesday from now throughout the legislative session. This week is also the Legislative Reception for those with disabilities on Wednesday, January 28th.

The Olympia Insider video podcast is a concise preview and review of what’s happening with developmental disability advocacy in Washington’s capitol city.

What can you do to help?

The Arc of Washington State has an Action E-list you can sign up for that makes it very easy for you to let your legislators know what is most important to you. When bills or budget items need emails or phone calls targeted to your legislator you will receive an email with basic information about the issues and a suggested email you can revise or just send that will go directly to your legislator from you with just the click of a button.

You can also participate in this process by phone, email and personal visits to ask legislators to make sure that bills you are most concerned about get pulled to the Floor for a vote.

Come join us for Advocacy Day and the Legislative Reception because change is made by those who show up!

Diana Stadden
Arc of Washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator