Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Let's Keep It Moving

Today it’s time for some updates because there’s such a lot happening.

The Project Action! (https://www.dcqualitytrust.org/families/join-project-action) meeting on Saturday was a great celebration, as I’d expected.  Self-advocates and others really had put their shoulders to the wheel to get B22-0154 through the council, and the unanimous vote was an amazing accomplishment.  What made Saturday’s meeting even more special, though, was that Ward 1 council member Brianne Nadeau, who chairs the Human Services Committee, showed up with her baby daughter to celebrate along with us and to hear from Project Action! members about other concerns they have moving forward.  With respect to the bill itself, we were also reminded – as if we could forget! – that the U.S. Congress has to get its 30-day review of OUR law before the mayor can sign it.

Next up:  Tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, February 14, will be the performance review of the Department on Disability Services (also for the Office on Disability Rights) before the Nadeau committee.  It starts at 10:00, in room 500 of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.  This year I won’t be testifying in person but I do plan to attend so I can hear what others are saying, in particular about the DDS reorganization.  The committee hearings are always available to watch live or on archived video afterward (http://dccouncil.us/committees), and it’s still possible to submit testimony for a few days after the hearing has taken place.  So keep your eye on this space and I’ll let you know how long you’ve got to submit your written testimony!  Sometime in April the committee will have another hearing to consider the mayor’s budget for DDS.

Another big item on Saturday’s agenda was bill H.R. 620, which aims to weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives this week:

Particularly for those of my readers who have a voting representative in the U.S. House, CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON H.R. 360!  Do it for all U.S. citizens with disabilities, including those in D.C.!

Looking ahead, March 9 is the next meeting of D.C.’s Supporting Families Community of Practice (https://dds.dc.gov/event/state-team-meeting-supporting-families-community-practice-friday-march-9-2018).  You’ll remember that there were two briefings last year about ABLE accounts, one on ABLE in general and another about the newly-created D.C. ABLE account.  I wrote about these in my September 18 blog post, “News, News, News,” and then on October 17 in “Thinking About ABLE,” both of which you can find by clicking on “ABLE” in the Search box over to the right.  It was clear from those meetings that it would help to have some more general briefings on budget basics and responsible money management, so the upcoming meeting will focus on that.  I know that Emily Price (emily.price@dc.gov) will make sure there is a call-in option for those who can’t make it to DDS headquarters (250 E St. SW, next to the Federal Center SW metro station).

Many ways to get involved and keep improving life for our citizens with developmental disabilities in D.C. – take your pick!

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