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Upcoming Joint Finance Committee Hearings – A Great Opportunity to Provide Input!

Disability Rights Wisconsin encourages people to share their thoughts about how the current budget proposal impacts people with disabilities and their families. Joint Finance Committee hearings provide an opportunity to testify before legislators who will make spending decisions on items like Medicaid, special education, transportation, mental health, long term care, corrections, local funding and more.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has scheduled these upcoming hearings:

  • Monday, April 11 Milwaukee area (10 am – 6 pm) Wisconsin State Fair Park: Expo Center, Hall A – 8200 W. Greenfield Ave, West Allis WI
  • Wed, April 13 in Neenah (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at the Pickard Civic Auditorium (1275 Tullar Road, Neenah).

See the entry on this web site titled: State Budget Resources and Budget Presentation You can Use for information on how the budget affects people with disabilities.

The committee will stop taking testimony at the end time specified and there are other ways to provide input. Written comments can be emailed to the committee at: budgetcomments@legis.wisconsin.gov or sent by US mail to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53703.

Federal Keeping All Students Safe Act Reintroduced

House Reintroduces Keeping All Students Safe Act

NDRN Calls for Passage

WASHINGTON – The National Disability Rights Network applauded the reintroduction of the Keeping All Students Safe Act, H.R. 1381. The legislation, which passed in the House last year but was unable to clear the Senate, addresses the use of restraint and seclusion on children in schools.

“A year has gone by since Congress failed to pass this needed legislation and more children have been abused through restraint and seclusion,” said Curt Decker, NDRN’s executive director. “Our member agencies have investigated instances in which kids as young as 5 years old have been confined, tied up, pinned down, and battered through the use of restraint and seclusion.”

As documented in a report released by NDRN entitled School is Not Supposed to Hurt, a disturbing nationwide trend of the use of restraint and seclusion has emerged, denying students full and safe inclusion in the nation’s education system. NDRN’s report was the catalyst for a Government Accountability Office investigation that led the House to take action.

The legislation addresses many of the problems documented in NDRN’s report: Inconsistent (and sometimes non-existent) standards in many states on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools; Parents and guardians not being informed of the use of restraint and seclusion on their children; Use of inherently dangerous restraint and seclusion techniques with little to no training or monitoring; Use of restraint and seclusion in situations that clearly do not call for the use of such extreme techniques (i.e. blowing bubbles in milk, fidgeting in a chair), and the lack of reporting of such incidents to help the proper authorities identify where problems may exist that could be addressed with additional training and technical assistance.

“Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) should be commended for taking action on this bipartisan legislation to end the abusive use of restraint and seclusion in schools,” added Decker. “We urge the House to pass this bill quickly.”

FCC Survey on Access to Emergency Services

On March 16, 2011, the FCC’s Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) released a national on-line survey to determine the most effective and efficient technologies and methods by which persons with disabilities may access Next Generation 9-1-1 emergency services systems. Among other things, the survey asks about accessing emergency services via video, text, and voice.

The results of the survey will inform the EAAC as it develops recommendations for the FCC to draft rules to ensure that people with disabilities can access NG 9-1-1 services. The survey is available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) video.

This survey will be available until April 24, 2011. We encourage people with disabilities to complete this survey, and share information about the survey with other people with disabilities and organizations that represent persons with disabilities.

Copy and paste the address you would like to use below into your web browser:

Link to the survey in English and ASL: http://fcc.eaac.sgizmo.com/s3

Link to the survey in Spanish: http://fcc.eaac-es.sgizmo.com/s3

State Budget Resources and a Budget Presentation YOU Can Use

Look here for various resources you can use in your community or with groups you work with to conduct a presentation about how the current state budget proposal impacts people with disabilties in Wisconsin:

2011-2013 State Budget PowerPoint presentation – Final

PowerPoint Notes

Survival Talking Points (All)

Survival Coalition FAQs

Balancing the budget

Click here to watch and listen to a presentation on the budget:

DHS Town Hall Meeting in Fennimore on April 5

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced a second Town Hall Meeting to be held in Fennimore on Tuesday, April 5. The meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at South West Technical College in the Lenz Conference Center in the Kramer Building (Building 300), 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI.

The purpose of these meetings is for DHS to gather ideas from the public on cost efficiencies, savings, and improved outcomes to the state’s Medicaid programs (e.g. , Family Care, IRIS and other long-term care programs, BadgerCare, and SeniorCare. These ideas will help DHS develop plans designed to improve overall consumer care, streamline program delivery and stabilize programs to ensure long-term sustainability.

Those who testify will have up to three minutes to share their cost-saving ideas. People can also submit their written testimony at the meeting. Testimony will also be accepted via email to DHS Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades at DHSDeputySecretaryKittyRhoades@dhs.wisconsin.gov or via U.S. mail to Secretary Dennis Smith, Room 650, 1 W. Wilson St., Madison, WI, 53703.

People who require special accommodations to attend or participate in the meeting should notify DHS at 608-266-9622 (TTY 888-701-1250).

DRW and Quality Education Coalition react to Governor’s proposed Education budget

Disability advocates, including DRW and the Quality Education Coalition (QEC), are concerned about the devastating effects on all kids, including children with disabilities, which the Governor’s proposed education budget will have if enacted. Click the link below to read DRW and QEC’s position paper which responds to the Governor’s proposed Education budget. Readers are welcome to share it and use any parts of it as they craft their own messages to legislators.

DRW-QEC response to proposed education budget

Survival Coalition Issue Papers

These issue papers were created by the of Wisconsin Disability Organizations to help consumers, advocates and families talk to policymakers about important disability issues in the state budget. Consider making your own appointment with your legislator very soon!

Click here to download the Survival Coalition Issue Papers

DRW submits testimony on Charter School bill

Here is the testimony which DRW just submitted on SB 22 which would expand Charter Schools in Wisconsin. As you can see, while charter schools can benefit children with disabilities, this bill needs amendments in order to preserve this option as truly accessible for children with disabilities.

Testimony on SB 22

State Budget Briefing sponsored by: Make It Work! Milwaukee

State Budget Briefing
Sponsored by: Make It Work! Milwaukee

Do you want to better understand how the Wisconsin State Budget will impact you and others in Milwaukee?

Join us for a State Budget Briefing that focuses on disability and aging services in Milwaukee. Click here to view the printable flyer.

Friday, April 1, 2011
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: IndependenceFirst,
540 S. 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Click here for a map

Session is free and open to all! This briefing may be especially helpful for individuals attending Madison Legislative Days, such as the April 6th Disability Advocacy Day.

Let’s work together to create a strong voice for Milwaukee!

  • Bring your lunch and join us. Drinks and dessert will be provided.
  • RSVPs by March 29, 2011, are appreciated and will help with planning. Disability-related accommodations are also available. Please contact ARC of Greater Milwaukee at 414-774-6255 or Melinda@arcmilwaukee.org.
  • Environmental/Chemical Sensitivity Policy: We request that guests not use perfumes, scented soaps, etc. IndependenceFirst is a smoke-free environment.

Ideas for Improving Outcomes and Finding Efficiencies in Medicaid

Disability Rights Wisconsin worked with its partners in the statewide Survival Coalition to submit to the Department of Health Services a list of recommendations for improving outcomes and efficiencies in Medicaid. DHS Secretary Smith has thanked the Survival Coalition for their feedback and continues to seek our input.

Click here to view the Survival Coalition Proposal for Improving Medicaid Outcomes and Efficiencies