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Another Big Day in Sacramento – And the Fight Goes On

Posted Feb 11 2011 4:59pm

An action alert from The Arc of California and United Cerebral Palsy. Yesterday was one of the hearings on the proposed budget cuts for the disabled in California. Due to good advocacy, there was a big turnout.

The fight goes on. If you are in California and you haven’t called your representatives yet, do so.

Dear Friends,

We had another great turnout in the Capitol yesterday, even bigger than last week.

The members of the Senate subcommittee conducting the developmental services budget hearing – Senators Mark DeSaulnier, Elaine Alquist and Bill Emmerson—listened to us attentively. The hundreds of you who talked to them were, if anything, even more articulate and compelling than last week, and they heard you.

And everyone in the Capitol was aware of our presence. They could hardly overlook it when the security people had to close off admission to the 4th floor.

Neither the Senate nor the Assembly budget subcommittee took votes on Governor Brown’s proposed $1.1 billion cut in the budget for community services for people with developmental disabilities. (The governor’s proposal calls it a $533.5 million cut, and we’ve been estimating it at $750 million including lost federal funds, but the new Senate staff analysis put the total cut at more than $1.1 billion.)

So the fight goes on. The Senate and Assembly budget committees could start making real decisions as early as next week.

Here are two things you can do now:

1. If you haven’t called your own local state senator and assemblymember to protest the cuts, please call today.

The most important thing when you call is to speak from your heart. Tell them why you care and what the end of Lanterman Act services could mean to you and those you care for.

If you’re worried that they might think you’re being alarmist, you can quote the Senate budget subcommittee staff’s comments from yesterday’s hearing agenda. In dry government language, the staff member says the same thing we’ve been saying:

“Subcommittee staff believes that the overall [proposed budget cut] is not fully feasible…. Significant reductions have occurred within the developmental services system over the past several years. These reductions have included some eligibility changes, significant changes to services, increasing family cost-sharing, reducing rates, and related actions. As a result, reductions of the magnitude that are proposed are not achievable if the Lanterman Act is to be maintained.”

And again, if you don’t know who your local state senator and assemblymember are, click on http://capwiz.com/thearc/state/main/?state=CA&view=myofficials, enter your ZIP code, click on “Go,” scroll down to “My Elected Officials,” and click on “State Senators” and then again on “State Representatives.” Call their Sacramento offices unless you already know someone who works in one of their local offices. And be sure to get the name of the staff person you talk to, so you can call or email the same person in the future.

2. Forward this Action Alert to everyone you know who you can ask to make the calls and also join UCP-Arc Action E-List, our most important tool for mobilizing support at critical moments.

To join the list, click on http://capwiz.com/thearc/state/main/?state=CA&view=myofficials (the same place you go to find out who your senator and assemblymember are), scroll down a little to “California Legislative Action Center,” click on “Action E-List,” and fill in your contact information.

And thank you for your advocacy.

Greg

Greg deGiere
Public Policy Director
The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California

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