Sine die is coming soon… or is it

Published Apr. 19, 2013

The term “sine die” (pronounced SIGH-nee dye) is a Latin phrase which means “without day”. This term in our legislature refers to the fact that they are adjourning without a specific day on which they will reconvene. The last scheduled day of the 2013 Washington State Legislature is April 28th, but the budget still has yet to be finalized. The Senate proposal balances their budget with no new revenue while the House proposal includes extending some taxes and closing some loopholes. This is a major sticking point which could force Governor Inslee to call a special session if legislators cannot come to agreement in the next ten days. There are also some bills needing concurrence between both houses before they can move to the Governor’s desk. 
How did services for developmental disabilities do in the budget?

The Senate released their budget proposal first, with the House budget coming out a week later. The most notable addition was new funding for the Individual and Family Services program to serve some of the individuals who have been waiting for some type of service on the No Paid Services caseload. This means some families will finally get respite plus it includes funding for new case resource managers for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDA) to be able to process the grants and support these families.

Other budget additions for DD include funding for high school graduates to receive employment services, crisis stabilization services for children in community settings, two new State Operated Living Alternatives (SOLA), funding for abuse and neglect investigations and an enhanced “Exception To Rule” (ETR) process for Medicaid Personal Care. With insurance companies now being required to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, we were pleased to see the budget proposals also included funding for ABA services through Apple Health for Kids and created licensing for 15 new certified mental health agencies to provide ABA.

The Department of Corrections requested funding to create a new program called Missioned Housing units for adults in the jail/corrections system. Two sites, one in Walla Walla and the other in Monroe, will ensure that offenders who have DD (or a traumatic brain injury) will be treated appropriately, protected from abuse and provided specialized habilitation programming. This program will help them learn how their actions affect what happens to them, to understand their feelings of anger and why their anger causes problems, to learn new ways to put an end to criminal thinking in order to make better choices and more. The Senate proposed funding only one site, but the House provided for both sites.

To see more information about the budget items for DD services, check out our web site at https://arcwa.org/takeaction and follow the links under “Legislative Issue Papers”.

Bills of Interest – almost finished!

We have now passed the cut-off for bills to have passed in both the House and Senate. If an amendment was tacked onto a bill during the second half of the process, the bill will need to go back to the other body for “concurrence”. For example, HB 1688, which would require schools to notify parents if their child is restrained or placed in seclusion at school, first passed the House, the passed the Senate. The Senate amended the bill when they passed it so the bill is now sent back to the House and they are asked if they will agree to the Senate amendment. If they concur, the bill would pass and move on to the Governor. If the House will not concur and the Senate refuses to approve it without their amendment, the bill could still die.

Some bills can appear to have died, but because they could impact some portion of the budget, they could be considered NTIB (Necessary To Implement the Budget). HB 1574, which the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) requested in order to establish a fee to cover the costs for investigation abuse and neglect allegations in supported living settings, did not make it through the bill process. Even though it died in committee, it could still pass as NTIB.

You can always find the updated list at https://arcwa.org/takeaction, just click on Legislative Issue Papers where you can access the Budget Information and Bills of Interest.

What can you do now?

Your legislators need to hear a THANK YOU from you! Contact them let them know that you appreciate that they funded DD services in their budget proposal and ask that they ensure those services stay funded in the final conference budget.

Make sure you are signed up on our Action Network so you can stay informed and respond if action is needed. When legislative session finally reaches “sine die”, the interim before the next session in 2014 is a great time to talk about concerns you may have with your legislators. Call them and ask them to meet you for coffee, get to know them and help them get to know you.

2013 Advocacy Days

Each week of Advocacy Day had a specific topic that we provided information to every legislator about. They received a handout along with a button identifying that week’s topic. Thank you to all the advocacy volunteers who helped us deliver these messages each week. We have each handout posted on our web site; simply go to https://arcwa.org/takeaction and follow the link under “Legislative Issue Papers” to find the 2013 handouts for legislators.

Feb 6th:  Session Overview
Feb 13th:  Employment
Feb 20th:  Medicaid Services
Feb 27th:   HCBS Waivers
Mar 6th:  Independent Living Day Rally
Mar 13th:  Budget Review
Mar 20th:   Respite/Family Services (Walk in my Shoes Protest)
Mar 27th:   Behavior Supports
April 3rd:   Healthcare
April 10th:   Civil Rights
April 17th:   Session Wrap-up

This year we added a new twist to Advocacy Day by providing all attendees with a “Passport”. Each week that they attended Advocacy Day we stamped that page of their Passport. If they filled out their evaluation (either paper or using the new online evaluation from home) they received another stamp in their Passport. At our Session Wrap-up, six advocates received prizes for filling up their Passports. Congratulations for great advocacy work this year!

DON’T FORGET TO KEEP YOUR BLUE SCARF TO WEAR AGAIN NEXT YEAR!

 Read the Olympia Reporter for in-depth news happening in Olympia.
 Subscribe to the Olympia Insider YouTube channel for video updates.
 Sign up for The Arc of Washington’s Action Network.
 Be sure to follow TheArcofWA on Twitter.
 Become a fan of The Arc - Washington State on Facebook
 “Like” the Don’t Cut Our Lifeline! Facebook page
 Get the Advocacy Partnership Project “News to Know” email newsletter. Email Diana@arcwa.org.
 Write Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper. The Arc makes this easy for you to do. Simply go to http://capwiz.com/arcwa/home and click on the “Media Guide” tab. Choose five newspapers to send to, then write your message and click send.

Questions? Need more information? Email me at Diana@arcwa.org.

Remember, change is being made by those who show up!