By Amir Abdolrahimi - ECNV Communications Manager
On Wednesday February 1st, ECNV staff traveled to Richmond to speak to law makers about disability rights in the state of Virginia. The all-day event was coordinated by the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living, and included staff and consumers from 15 other Center for Independent Living organizations (CIL’s) in the area.
During our visit to the Virginia General Assembly, ECNV staff met with 25 state legislators which included Delegate David Bulova, Delegate Kenneth Plum, and Delegate Marcus Simon. Our mission was to advocate for the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into all aspects of society.
From the left - ECNV Advocacy Director Doris Ray, Delegate Marcus Simon, ECNV Travel Trainer Selvin Garcia
This was my first time attending IL day and I found the experience to be extremely fun and rewarding. The most enjoyable aspect of this event was seeing how much our state officials care about disability rights, and hearing how knowledgeable they were about some of the issues we brought up. I also really enjoyed meeting staff and consumers from other CIL’s and learning of their ideas on how we as a community can improve the lives of people with disabilities and the Independent Living Movement.
The three pieces of legislation we advocated for are listed below:
1. Support up to 16 hours of overtime pay and an exception process to the cap on number of hours consumer-directed (CD) attendants can work each week. The current cap on the number of hours a CD attendant can work puts people at risk of institutionalization and harm. The Governor’s introduced budget amendment would allow CD attendants to work up to 56 hours a week for the same employer. An additional amendment would establish an exceptions process for people with disabilities who need more than 56 hours a week of personal care, respite and/or companion services from the same CD attendant.
2. Reduce waiting lists for the Medicaid Developmental Disabilities Waivers. The DD Waivers provide services for people with autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, spina bifida and other developmental disabilities that occur before the age of 22. The waiting list includes over 11,000 people.
3. Restore funding for independent living services. Funding for independent living services to assist people with transitions was reduced by $200,000 in the fall of 2016. Budget item 332 #8h would restore the $200,000. Delegate Ingram is the patron. Budget item 332 #6s would restore the $200,000 & provide an additional $50,000. Senator Howell is the patron.
ECNV encourages you to reach out to your representatives regarding these issues and please feel free to contact our Advocacy Director Doris Ray with any questions that you may have at email@example.com.