Time for a hearing anyone?

Published Jan. 28, 2008

The second week of session started us off slowly in a hearing schedule that now is a flurry of bills being heard this week. Last Thursday the House Human Services committee held a hearing on House Bill 2863, the Intensive Behavior Support Services bill. DSHS, the Developmental Disabilities Council and parents testified as to the critical need for this program. Legislators on the committee seemed supportive of the idea.

Our first Advocacy Day for this session was a great success. Last Wednesday’s meeting was held at the Governor’s Hotel in Olympia where some of the hot issues related to developmental disabilities were discussed. The theme for the day was “Preserving Families”. This message was sent to legislators by providing them with a container of “jam preserves” with the message below that highlighted how bills they will be seeing come before them this session would help preserve families who have children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Preserve Families of Children and Adults with DD!

  • Please support HB 2863/SB 6448 Intensive Behavior SupportServices—Preserve the family through behavioral services provided at home and in the community.
  • Please support SB 6736/HB 3078 Life Long Learning Act—Provide meaningful day services to young adults with significant disabilities to preserve quality of life.
  • Please support HB 2900/SB 6713 Early Intervention Services—Provide full funding for this entitlement program to preserve families’ ability to help their child early.
  • Please support the Developmental Disabilities Land Trust—Preserve funds from excess properties at RHCs for use by DD employment and Individual & Family Services.

This week the legislative committees have a multitude of hearings on many issues including the Intensive Behavior Support Services, various bills concerning autism, Disability History Month in school, early intervention services, the Life Long Learning Act, the Developmental Disabilities Land Trust and many others. Contact the Arc of Washington if you would like to learn more information about these bills.

What can you do to help?

Phone calls, emails, letters and of course, personal visits are needed now to help legislators move the bills on through the process. The next Advocacy Day is this Wednesday at 10:00 am and will be held at United Churches across from the capitol. Our highlighted topic will be the Intensive Behavior Support Services bill. The House heard its version of the bill last week (HB 2863) and the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee heard their version, SB 6448, today. Since bills need to be voted out of their committee of origin by Friday, February 8th, it is critical that you contact your legislators, especially those on the two committees that have the bills, and ask them to “Exec” them out of the committee. These bills will then move on to House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means because of the fiscal note attached. Things are moving quickly now, just remember Change is made by those who show up, so thanks for showing up!

Scooting from one hearing to the next-

Diana Stadden
Arc of Washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator