FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Edison McDonald, Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska, 402-475-4407 or email@example.com
Disability Advocates Kick Off Grassroots Campaign to Ensure Access to Vital Services
Lincoln, Nebraska, July 2, 2019 – “Nebraska is at a crossroads with its obligation to Nebraska citizens with developmental disabilities. Several Nebraska Senators have recognized the urgent need to develop a strategic plan to address the current and future needs of citizens with DD and their families.” This is what the 2008 LR 156 report said over a decade ago. Yet we have instead allowed this waiting list to grow and vulnerable Nebraskans to go without vital services.
In reaction to this disability advocates are taking up a new grassroots drive to end the Developmental Disability Waiting List. “It is absolutely unacceptable that we have over 2,332 Nebraskans with disabilities who are not receiving these vital supports.” Said Edison McDonald Executive Director for The Arc of Nebraska. They have been forced onto a waiting list that could require them to wait for years to access vital services. This waiting list forces them to consider more expensive and segregated settings. This average cost per Nebraskan with a disability could be hundreds of thousands of dollars per citizen with disability. We must do better.
Launching off a petition drive, community conversations, and careful research of the issue advocates are ready to take on this significant issue for Nebraskans with Disabilities. The first community conversation will happen at the annual Disability Pride Event at The Nebraska State Capitol on July 12th at 1pm. For more information please refer to https://www.arc-nebraska.org/end_the_waiting_list
About The Arc of Nebraska
For over 60 years, The Arc of Nebraska has provided advocacy to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. A nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors, The Arc has more than 1,500 members across the state.
AM 1750 to LB 147: The Restraint Bill
LB 147 is out of Committee due to the Pull Motion now it is headed to General File and we need you to raise your voice to oppose this bill still! Your calls made a difference and are the reason why he only barely made it through.
Senator Groene has been attempting to pull LB 147 the Restraint Bill out of committee through any method possible. We have been able to stop him from getting it out of committee through the regular process! However, now he has called for a Pull Motion that means that he can skip the committee process and bring it straight to the floor if he can get 25 votes on Tuesday, May 21 at 1:30 pm. The conversation will hopefully now revolve around AM 1750 an amendment that we worked on that helps to improve the bill. However, even with this amendment, not enough of our concerns are alleviated. As a parent said, “I would be scared to send my child to school if this law passed.” We represent people with disabilities and their families and will stand up for their safety.
Senator Groene has been attempting to pull LB 147 out of committee through any method possible. This bill allows for the usage of child restraints with almost no protections. LB 147 has been described as a bill to allow teachers to bring safety to the classroom. We have many concerns about this bill because it will disproportionately harm students with disabilities. According to the Civil Rights Data Collection: Data Snapshot (School Discipline) “Students with disabilities (served by IDEA) represent 12% of the student population [of U.S. schools], but 58% of those placed in seclusion or involuntary confinement.” Nebraska students served by IDEA represent 15% of the total enrollment but 77% of those who were physically restrained. If you want more information on this bill please watch out discussion on restraint with one of our board members https://www.arc-nebraska.org/restraint_policy
Chris Stewart is the Resource Facilitator for The Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska.
Do you know someone that has experienced a brain injury? The answer to the question is probably yes. Let’s check:
Do you know someone that has taken a hit or had their head bounced around in a vehicle accident, fall, playing sports or an assault? What about a family member or friend that was diagnosed as having a stroke, aneurysm, tumor or was unable to breathe for a brief period due to choking or carbon monoxide? These are some of the causes of brain injuries reported by individuals calling the Brain Injury Alliance – Nebraska.
Brain Injury Alliance – Nebraska (BIA-NE) is a not-for-profit organization advocating with individuals that have experienced a brain and their family members across the state, to establish needed resources in prevention, education, awareness, and supports. The BIA-NE tag line has become, “A Brain Injury Can Happen to Anyone, Anywhere, at Any Time.”Read more
Erin Phillips the Disability Policy Specialist for People First of Nebraska discusses the lack of equity in laws and benefits systems that unfairly disenfranchise people with disabilities who want to get married.
In this Nebraska Disability Update, we wanted to talk a bit about the bad policy of restraint. In particular, we discuss our concerns with LB 147 with Mary Phillips our board member, a parent, and an educator.
We have hit the midpoint in session when bills have to be prioritized and we see what bills will be moving forward.
LB 323 Disability Employment Bill- Linehan and Crawford- Out of Committee and Prioritized
- Makes employment for people with disabilities easier
- Removes red tape and ensures more individuals can contribute to society
- Removes the trial work period that can cause people to lose life saving benefits
LB 311 Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act- Crawford and Cavanaugh Out of committee but not going anywhere this year. We need to keep up the volume so Senators know this is important.
- Many of our members and families have to take frequent leave in order to care for their family members making it hard to keep a job. This bill would help ensure that most businesses would provide paid leave. The structure will work well for small businesses.
LR 296 Continuation
- Last year we were able to get a study of Long Term Care Facilities one of the main recommendations of the committee was that it be continued because there were so many horrific situations that needed to be fixed. There are several other bills addressing this.
LB 570 Olmstead- Walz Out of Committee and Prioritized
- Creates a Strategic Plan for the State to ensure people with disabilities are in the most inclusive setting possible
- The State is currently out of compliance with state and federal law. This bill will help to ensure they are back in compliance with both saving millions of dollars.
LB 733 Election Bill- Kolowski Out of Committee Likely to be Amended to Another Bill
- Over the last year we have been working on training, education, and helping to ensure that people with disabilities have access to vote.
- The Secretary of State has Federal Funds they have agreed to use in spaces we identified as problem polling locations
- This bill updates and harmonizes Nebraska Statute to put many of the remaining pieces in line.
LB 147 Restraints and Seclusion- Groene Prioritized but not Out of Committee Keep Pressure Up
- We have led the charge against this bill in the past and again strongly oppose
- This bill could allow students to be locked in a room alone or physical force on a student
- This disproportionately affects students with disabilities and leads to potential abuse
LB 540 Transition Funding Walz Amended to LB 468 which is a committee priority
- This bill looks to protect transition services for young people
- Transition is one of the most difficult times in the life of a child with a disability. This bill helps to protect the services that are currently set to be cut.
8. LB 15 Children’s Hearing Aid Fund Out of Committee and Prioritized
This act would allow any child under the age of 19 that needs a hearing aid to have it paid for through their insurance plan as long as the benefits paid for the hearing aid during the previous 48-months has not exceeded three thousand dollars.
Aged and Disabled Advisory on Changed Requirements
Many members of the disability community are receiving notification that they will no longer be covered under the Aged and Disabled Waiver. These changes are based upon an interpretation of a court case that has increased the legal requirements of limits on three major life activities to six.
According to a 2016 election by Rutgers University. Voter participation among people with disabilities has gone down over the past two presidential elections – from 57.3 percent in 2008 to 56.8 percent in 2012 and 55.9 percent in 2016. This is disconcerting to many advocates who have worked tirelessly to increase civic engagement. There are not a lot of studies that have gone into why this might have happened. But one limited study done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), indicated that nearly two-thirds of the 137 polling places inspected on Election Day 2016 had at least one impediment to people with disabilities.Read more
Our interview with Dr. Stuart Stofferahn Executive Director for The Nebraska Transition College.