Arkansas Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

inclusion. integration. independence.

 

Legislative and Policy Updates

UPDATE: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

2019 State Legislative Session Update - The Regular Session of the 92nd General Assembly convened on Monday, January 14, 2019 and adjourned sine die on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019.

Follow link below to view the GCDD's legislation report.

2019 ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE SESSION Bill Status Report 05-15-2019

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

 

UPDATE: Friday, May 17, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

Federal Legislative Update

May 17, 2019

Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

National Association Councils on Developmental Disability

Appropriations
The House Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee released their spending report for Fiscal Year 2020, which starts October 1, 2019. Although ACL recommended significant cuts to DD Act programs, NACDD was successful in lobbying for increased funding levels in the House bill.  Please note the numbers below are from the House legislation which still must be passed by the full House and then conferenced with the Senate legislation (Senate is holding its hearing soon). Positive funding news:

o   Developmental Disabilities State Councils. The Committee recommends $80,000,000 for State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, which is $4,000,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $24,000,000 above the ACL fiscal year 2020 budget request.

o   University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDDs).  The Committee recommends $41,619,000 for University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, which is $1,000,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $9,073,000 above the ACL fiscal year 2020 budget request.

o   Developmental Disabilities Protection and Advocacy the Committee recommends $43,000,000 for Developmental Disabilities Protection and Advocacy, which is $2,266,000 above the 2019 enacted level and $4,266,000 above the fiscal year 2020 budget request.

o   Developmental Disabilities Projects of National Significance the Committee recommends $13,000,000 for Developmental Disabilities Projects of National Significance, which is $1,000,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $11,950,000 above the fiscal year 2020 budget request.

 Administration for Community Living Reorganization.
Recently, ACL announced its plan to reorganize the agency for the purposes of efficiencies and uniformity. The short version is that the plan continues to have the Administration on Disability (AoD) with Julie Hocker remaining as the Commissioner. Under AoD would be 3 Offices:

o   The Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Programs (including DD Councils and UCEDDs);

o   The Office of Independent Living Programs (CILs, SILCS etc.); and

o   The Office of Disability Services and Innovation (Including the P&As, PNS, HAVA, Traumatic Brain Injury, Limb Loss)

NACDD and our DD Act sister organizations sent a letter of concern to ACL. The concerns include:

o   Lack of stakeholder input in the reorganization;

o   Moving DD Act programs into separate offices despite DD Act mandate that we work in coordination;

o   Loss of staff expertise.

The Autism CARES Act - which has expanded research and coordination, increased public awareness and surveillance, and expanded interdisciplinary health professional training, including LENDs, to identify and support children and youth with Autism and their families - will sunset (expire) on September 30, 2019, without a successful reauthorization. Bills to reauthorize the Act have been introduced and need co-sponsors (HR. 1058, S. 427). Currently 19 Senators and 63 Representatives have joined as co-sponsors. NACDD is working with Hill sponsors to try to pass this legislation without disrupting these important programs.

HEADs UP Act - Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally Disabled and Underserved Population (HEADs UP) Act (H.R. 2417). NACDD supports the HEADs UP Act that would direct the Health Services and Resources Administration to designate people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population so they can receive greater resources and access to existing medical and dental assistance programs.

Money Follows the Person Demonstration Projects (MFP) - This program helps states rebalance their Medicaid long-term care systems by providing MFP-enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for qualified individuals moving from institutional settings into the community. The president signed a bill earlier this year extending spousal impoverishment protections through September 2019 and adding an additional $20 million for Money Follows the Person. However, we need a longer fix for states.

 ABLE Age Adjustment Act - The ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 2704, H.R. 4813) would raise the age limit for eligibility for ABLE accounts to individuals disabled before age 46. Currently, only individuals with a severe disability prior to the age of 26 are eligible to open an ABLE account. NACDD staff have participated in several Hill meetings with bill champions who are trying to attach this bill to other legislation moving this year.  

Competitive and Integrated Employment. NACDD supports the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, a common-sense legislation that provides states support to phase out 14c programs over 6 years while enhancing vocational rehabilitation services for all states. In the meantime, we are monitoring closely the possibility of Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) guidance that is expected.

 “Health Care for All” Proposals. Increasing attention is being paid in Congress to a variety of health care proposals, with the first hearing on “Medicare For All” – the policy idea that would cover all Americans under a national health care system. It is important to note that no proposed plan has bipartisan support, something needed for real movement in this divided Congress. However, the plans and proposals will part of the national discussion during this presidential election cycle. NACDD continues to monitor.

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

 

UPDATE: Thursday, May 09, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and FEMA:

Partner Information Share - Emergency Preparedness

Severe weather can happen anytime, in any part of the country. Severe weather can include hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flooding and flash flooding, and winter storms associated with freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds.  There are several ways to prepare for  severe weather and hurricane season, which officially starts on June 1st.  The keys to effective disaster preparedness—be informed, make a plan and take action—apply to all of us, but people with access and functional needs or disabilities, should approach preparedness planning with additional considerations.

Tips for homeowners, renters and business owners for disaster planning includes:

  • Build an emergency kit and have a safety plan for pets.
  • Buy flood insurance.
  • Know your evacuation route. Most counties feature this on their government website.
  • Pack at least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies
  • Pack extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Prepare and pack extra wheelchair batteries (manual wheelchair if possible) and/or oxygen
  • Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant, and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation options.
  • Know your area's flood risk. FEMA has an online flood map to help determine this.

For more tips on disaster planning for those with access and functional needs or disabilities, or for children, visit Ready.gov. The range of needs runs wide and effective planning runs deep. Be ready for hurricanes—and for any other disaster … and help those who may need neighborly assistance. For information specific to people with disabilities or other functional and access needs, visit this page

 

 

 

UPDATE: Friday, May 03, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Appointments

Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities: reappointed Ke’Arus Henderson and appointed Dr. Cynthia Fong, Maumelle, who replaced Stacey Sebree, and Heather Shrader, Bates-ville, who replaced Chris Johnson. Their terms expire Dec. 1, 2023. Also appointed Ann Price, North Little Rock, who replaced Andrea Reaves. Her term expires Dec. 1, 2020.

Independent Living Council (SILC): reappointed Anne Creekmore, Marion, and appointed Brenda Stinebuck, Hot Springs, replaced SeRonna Johnson; Nathan Winter, Conway, replaced Edwin Mitchell; and Twain Cunningham, Little Rock, replaced Robert Fagan. Their terms expire Feb. 1, 2021. The governor also reappointed Mahdee Raiees-Dana, Mount Pleasant, and appointed Jon Wilkerson, Conway, replaced Adren Duncan; Lori McFarlane, Sherwood, replaced Dr. Martin McDonell; Leigh Garvin, Sherwood, replaced Barbara Nolen; and Candy Wray, Swifton, replaced Dr. Jenifer Mason. Their terms expire Feb. 1, 2022.

Rehabilitation Council: reappointed Christopher Paslay, Brookland, and Addie Edwards, Camden, and appointed Kelley Sharp, Farmington, who replaced Brian Itzkowitz. Their terms expire Feb. 1, 2020. Also reappointed Tom Masseau, Maumelle, whose term expires Feb. 1, 2021. Also reappointed Robert Fagan, Little Rock, and Craig Reinhardt, Little Rock, and appointed Kimberly Clayborn, Jonesboro, who replaced Martha Strother; Jonathan Taylor, Vilonia, who replaced Alex Scott; and Kesha Pilot, Hot Springs. Their terms expire Feb. 1, 2022.

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

 

UPDATE: Monday, April 15, 2019

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE - PRESS RELEASE

NEWS - For Immediate Release

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

Melissa Trostel-Hall promoted, Davenport joins Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities staff

LITTLE ROCK (April 15, 2019) – Melissa Trostel-Hall of Cabot has been promoted to program and outreach coordinator at the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (the Council). The Council has also welcomed Chloe Davenport of Little Rock to the staff who serves as finance and operations coordinator.

Trostel-Hall previously served as operations coordinator at the Council for 2 years. In her new position as program and outreach coordinator, Trostel-Hall assists the program and outreach manager, manages funded projects including agreements, contracts and sub-grants, responds to general grant and funding inquiries, coordinates with all Council committees on programs’ progress and coordinates with DD Network Partners, stakeholders and community outreach.

Davenport serves as finance and operations coordinator, and executive assistant of the executive director. In these roles, Davenport will oversee office management, Council relations, meeting and event planning, and finance and fiscal duties including federal and state financial reporting. She previously served as a grants analyst with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of Intergovernmental Services (IGS).

“It has been amazing to see how Melissa has prospered in her previous role at the Council and has had the ability to grow into this new position to assist the Council further in its initiatives towards a more inclusive Arkansas,” said Eric Munson, the Council’s executive director. “We are also excited to welcome Chloe to our team as she will not only help with our agency’s financial reporting and day-to-day operations, but she will be a great addition to Council staff and board member relations.”

About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representation from nonprofit and private organizations. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, visit GCDD.arkansas.gov and follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 3, 2019

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE - PRESS RELEASE

NEWS - For Immediate Release

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

Donoven and Kozlowski appointed as new Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities chairs

LITTLE ROCK (April 3, 2019) – Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Katherine Donoven of Sherwood as chairperson and Ludwik Kozlowski, Jr. of North Little Rock as vice chairman of the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (the Council).

Donoven, who has served as a parent advocate on the Council, is an attorney in Little Rock. Her appointment expires December 2021. Self-advocate Kozlowski is a business analyst for Centene Corporation and his appointment expires December 2019. Kozlowski is the first individual with a developmental disability appointed to a leadership position since the re-organization of the Council.

“The Council would like to thank Governor Hutchinson for appointing Kate and Lud as they have been key in the Council’s success and outreach to the developmental disability (DD) community,” said Eric Munson, the Council’s executive director. “We would also like to thank former chairman Chris Johnson and vice chairman Stacey Sebree who played a crucial role in the Council’s early completion of a Federal Corrective Action Plan this past summer.”

Parent advocates Johnson of North Little Rock and Sebree of Little Rock served as chairman and vice chairman until Dec. 1, 2018.

“With Kate and Lud’s new appointments, the Council is very enthused about potential statewide initiatives and advocacy efforts to promote inclusion, integration and independence for individuals with DD in 2019,” said Munson.

About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for

Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representation from nonprofit and private organizations. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, visit GCDD.arkansas.gov and follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE: Monday, March 18, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

People First Language - Respectful Language

What is People First Language?

People with disabilities are – first and foremost – people who have individual abilities, interests and needs. They are moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, coworkers, students and teachers.  About 54 million Americans -- one out of every five individuals -- have a disability. Their contributions enrich our communities and society as they live, work and share their lives. 

People with disabilities constitute our nation’s largest minority group, which is simultaneously the most inclusive and the most diverse. Everyone is represented: of all genders, all ages, all religions, all socioeconomic levels and all ethnic backgrounds. The disability community is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time.

The language a society uses to refer to persons with disabilities shapes its beliefs and ideas about them. Words are powerful; Old, inaccurate, and inappropriate descriptors perpetuate negative stereotypes and attitudinal barriers. When we describe people by their labels of medical diagnoses, we devalue and disrespect them as individuals. In contrast, using thoughtful terminology can foster positive attitudes about persons with disabilities. One of the major improvements in communicating with and about people with disabilities is "People-First Language.” People-First Language emphasizes the person, not the disability. By placing the person first, the disability is no longer the primary, defining characteristic of an individual, but one of several aspects of the whole person. People-First Language is an objective way of acknowledging, communicating, and reporting on disabilities. It eliminates generalizations and stereotypes, by focusing on the person rather than the disability.

Disability is not the “problem.” For example, a person who wears glasses doesn’t say, “I have a problem seeing,” they say, “I wear/need glasses.” Similarly, a person who uses a wheelchair doesn’t say, “I have a problem walking,” they say, “I use/need a wheelchair.”

Our words and the meanings we attach to them create attitudes, drive social policies and laws, influence our feelings and decisions, and affect people’s daily lives and more. How we use them makes a difference. People First Language puts the person before the disability, and describes what a person has, not who a person is. Using a diagnosis as a defining characteristic reflects prejudice, and also robs the person of the opportunity to define him/herself.

Representation in the media:

Historically, people with disabilities have been regarded as individuals to be pitied, feared or ignored. They have been portrayed as helpless victims, repulsive adversaries, heroic individuals overcoming tragedy, and charity cases who must depend on others for their well being and care. Media coverage frequently focused on heartwarming features and inspirational stories that reinforced stereotypes, patronized and underestimated individuals' capabilities.

Much has changed lately.  New laws, disability activism and expanded coverage of disability issues have altered public awareness and knowledge, eliminating the worst stereotypes and misrepresentations. Still, old attitudes, experiences and stereotypes die hard.

People with disabilities continue to seek accurate portrayals that present a respectful, positive view of individuals as active participants of society, in regular social, work and home environments. Additionally, people with disabilities are focusing attention on tough issues that affect quality of life, such as accessible transportation, housing, affordable health care, employment opportunities and discrimination.

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE

NEWS - For Immediate Release

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

MEDIA ADVISORY - PHOTO AND INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month - Day at the Capitol

WHERE:  Arkansas State Capitol, 500 Woodlane St., Little Rock, AR 72201

WHEN: 10am-3pm

DETAILS:  March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Community of Champions and Arkansas People First are raising awareness of the positive impact individuals with developmental disabilities have on Arkansas. This is a free event which will begin with a brief news conference featuring speakers from Community of Champions, self-advocates and GCDD Executive Director Eric Munson. The goal of this event is to promote conversations between advocates and their legislators about the importance of inclusive communities and integrating the workforce to include more people with disabilities, in a community setting. This day-long event also includes the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities quarterly business meeting and will end with a rally on the Capitol steps with Arkansas People First, a statewide self-advocacy organization.

About Community of Champions

Community of Champions is an advocacy program, powered by Friendship Community Care and funded by the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Community of Champions’ mission is to develop every Arkansans into an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities. The program envisions communities, full of champions, advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Community of Champions strives to educate, inspire and empower peer advocates, self-advocates and state leaders to understand the importance behind advocacy and how it brings communities closer together, growing Arkansas to its maximum potential.

About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representation from nonprofit and private organizations. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, visit GCDD.ar.gov and follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter.

About Arkansas People First

Arkansas People First is a statewide self-advocacy organization. Members are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from across Arkansas. Members work to raise awareness about issues important to Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

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UPDATE: Thursday, January 31, 2019

UNITED STATES HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR - PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    

January 31, 2019

Contact:  Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853                                                                                                        

Chairman Scott, Senator Casey, and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Workers with Disabilities Transition to Competitive, Integrated Employment

“Expanding competitive integrated employment results in higher wages and greater satisfaction for workers with disabilities.”

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which provides states, service providers, subminimum wage certificate holders, and other agencies with the resources to help workers with disabilities transition into competitive, integrated employment.

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act is legislation designed to strengthen and enhance the disability employment service delivery systems throughout states while subminimum wages, which are currently allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, are phased out over a six-year period.

Currently, under section 14(c), employers that obtain a certificate are permitted to hire individuals with disabilities at less than minimum wage.

“Every worker should have access to fulfilling employment and economic self-sufficiency. This bill achieves those goals by advancing a culture of inclusion and collaboration between employers and service providers to enable individuals with disabilities to be successful in the workforce with a fair wage,” said Congressman Scott. “By expanding competitive integrated employment, we can raise wages, increase job satisfaction, and promote community participation for workers with disabilities. This legislation is an important step toward creating one fair wage for all.”

“Holding a job provides many benefits including economic self-sufficiency, a sense of self-worth and social networks. But, for far too many individuals with disabilities, the dignity of work is still out of reach,”Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Addressing the barriers to employment for people with disabilities means ensuring supports for finding and keeping good-paying jobs. Chairman Scott and I introduced the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act to help organizations strengthen and expand disability employment services and make it possible for people with disabilities to achieve financial security.”

“Disability employment is the next policy frontier to empower people with disabilities to live full and independent lives. A job is so much more than just a paycheck, it’s what gives us dignity, purpose, and the opportunity for a better life. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure more people -- who are ready, willing, and able to work -- find employment,”said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers.

Upon enactment, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act would:

•  Create a competitive state grant program to assist states to transition all 14(c) certificate holders to models that support competitive, integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. States will be able to apply for these transformation grants and must establish an advisory committee that includes employers, organizations specializing in employment for individuals with disabilities, Medicaid agencies, AbilityOne contractors, individuals with disabilities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies.

•  Create a competitive grant program for current 14(c) certificate holders, located in states that do not apply for the state grant, to transition their business models to support individuals with disabilities in competitive, integrated employment.

•  Immediately freeze the issuance of any new 14(c) certificates by the Department of Labor (DOL) and phase out the use of existing 14(c) certificates over 6 years until employees are paid the federal minimum wage.

•  Establish a technical assistance (TA) center to support all entities, even those not receiving the transformation grants, to transition to competitive integrated employment. The TA center, which will be funded by DOL, is tasked with disseminating information about best practices, lessons learned, and models for transition to all entities transitioning to competitive, integrated employment.

•  Require reporting and evaluation on the progress of creating and expanding the service delivery structure to support workers with disabilities in competitive integrated settings and the inclusive wraparound services they receive when not working. States and 14(c) certificate holders will also be required to report on their grant activities, evaluate changes in employment for individuals with disabilities, report average wage information, and evaluate employer actions taken to comply with the phase out of 14(c) and transformation grants.

To read the section-by-section of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, click here.

To read a fact sheet on Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, click here.

List of Supporting Organizations: American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Autism National Committee, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Autism Society of America, Center for Public Representation (CPR), Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Disability Rights Florida, Disability Rights Iowa, Disability Rights New Mexico, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), National Disability Institute (NDI), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), National Federation of the Blind (NFB), National Rehabilitation Association, TASH, Inc.

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UPDATE: Friday, January 11, 2019

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

2019 Regular Legislative Session (92nd General Assembly) IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES

Convening regular session:  January 14, 2019

Arkansas Code § 10-2-1Ol(a) sets 12:00 noon on the second Monday in January of each odd­ numbered year for the convening of the General Assembly in regular session. This rule is derived from Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, § 5, which permits the General Assembly to establish the date.

Deadline to file retirement legislation and certain health care legislation:  January 28, 2019*

Joint Rules and Arkansas Code § 10-2-115 require that legislation affecting any publicly supported retirement system or pension plan be introduced during the first fifteen days of the regular session. (*) After the fifteenth day of the regular session, retirement legislation must be approved for introduction by a three-fourths vote of the full membership of each house. Joint Rules require that proposed legislation affecting the licensure of any profession, occupation, or class of health care providers not currently licensed or expanding the scope of practice of any profession, occupation, or class of health care providers to be considered by the General Assembly at a regular biennial session be introduced in the General Assembly during the first fifteen calendar days of a regular biennial session. (*) After the fifteenth day of the regular

session, any proposed legislation affecting the licensure of any profession, occupation, or class of health care providers not currently licensed or expanding the scope of practice of any profession, occupation, or class of health care providers must be approved for introduction by a three-fourths vote of the full membership of each house.

Deadline to file constitutional amendments: February 13, 2019

Joint Rules state: "No resolution proposing a constitutional amendment shall be filed in either the House of Representatives or the Senate after the thirty-first (31st) day of each regular session of the General Assembly."

Deadline to file appropriation bills: March 4, 2019*

Joint Rules state: "No appropriation bill shall be filed for introduction in either the House of Representatives or the Senate later than the fiftieth (50th) day of each regular session (*) except upon consent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house; ..."

Final deadline to file any legislation:  March 11, 2019*

Joint Rules state: "...and, no bill shall be filed for introduction in either the House of Representatives or the Senate later than the fifty-fifth (55th) day of each regular session (*) except upon consent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house; ...". The deadline is extended past the 55th day because the rule provides that if the deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline will be the following Monday. This rule is derived from Arkansas Constitution, Art. 5, § 34, which prohibits bills from being filed during the last three days of a sess10n.

(*) This deadline may be extended.

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

UPDATE: Monday, January 7, 2019

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE - PRESS RELEASE

NEWS - For Immediate Release

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

Assiah Lewellen promoted at Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

LITTLE ROCK (Jan. 7, 2019) – Assiah Lewellen of Little Rock has been promoted to program and outreach manager at the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (the Council). She was previously the grants and outreach coordinator.

As program and outreach manager, Lewellen will oversee the planning and development of Council programs; monitor implementation of the Council’s state plan; develop and maintain relationships with constituents, elected officials, state agencies and organizations; and manage special projects and grants. The Council will integrate some job duties from Lewellen’s previous position into the new position.

“The Council is excited to have someone as dedicated to the developmental disabilities community as Assiah is to step in as our new program and outreach manager and help us continue the work we do to serve this population,” said Eric Munson, the Council’s executive director. “Her recent certification from the Georgetown Leadership Academy and her desire for continued education has proved she is the best candidate to fill this position and help the Council thrive.”

Lewellen has been with the Council for more than two years. In October, she completed the Georgetown University Leadership Academy where she learned strategies to help her lead Council intiatives including the advancement of cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) to respond to the state’s growing cultural diversity among individuals with developmental disabilities.

About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representatives from nonprofit organizations and private entities. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, visit GCDD.arkansas.gov and follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE: Friday, December 14, 2018:

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

The 2019 Regular Legislative Session (92nd General Assembly) will convene on Monday, January 14, 2019. More important dates and legislative updates will follow.

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

 

 

UPDATE: Friday, December 7, 2018 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNCILS ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES (NACDD) UPDATE

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities Statement on the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

WASHINGTON – This past weekend, the disability community lost a very important advocate, President George H.W Bush. Today, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) joins the country in recognizing a national day of mourning for the loss of such an esteemed man and visionary leader.

In addition to many important things that President Bush accomplished during his 8 years as Vice President and 4 years as President of the United States, he signed, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA, modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits the discrimination of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. The implementation of the law began a continuous discussion about the inclusion of people with disabilities and creating a more accessible society for people of all abilities. “When President Bush was asked by journalists and others about his accomplishments during his Presidency, without fail he always said signing the ADA was the single most important accomplishment he had,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO of the NACDD. “He and members of his Administration were true to the effort of passage of this great law and spoke to his beliefs as an individual.”

"Together, we must remove the physical barriers we have created and the social barriers that we have accepted," President Bush said as he signed the ADA into law. "For ours will never be a truly prosperous nation until all within it prosper."

The ADA opened countless doors for people with disabilities in education, employment, transportation and community living. The NACDD continues to fight for the rights of persons with disabilities, and upholds the legacy that President Bush he has left. More than 28 years after its signing, the Americans with Disabilities Act remains one of the most crucial pieces of legislation that the United States has passed to ensure the rights of people with disabilities. We are grateful for President H.W. Bush and others who envisioned a just and inclusive society.

Other stories on Bush and ADA:

https://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/12/president_george_hw_bush_americans_with_disabilities_act_commentary.html

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/03/672817727/remembering-george-h-w-bush-a-champion-for-people-with-disabilities

 

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNCILS ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES (NACDD) UPDATE

NACDD ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH NEW FILM “INTELLIGENT LIVES” WHICH AIMS TO SHED LIGHT ON CREATING MORE INCLUSIVE LIVES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Robin Troutman rtroutman@nacdd.org

NACDD ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH NEW FILM “INTELLIGENT LIVES” WHICH AIMS TO SHED LIGHT ON CREATING MORE INCLUSIVE LIVES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

WASHINGTON – November 20, 2018 – New Film, New Partnership! The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities is thrilled to announce our partnership with award-winning director Dan Habib on his new film, “Intelligent Lives.” This film is a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America.

We are honored to collaborate with Dan Habib (creator of "Including Samuel") around his film’s national release, launching a dynamic and comprehensive impact campaign to raise awareness, engage communities, and create positive change.

“Intelligent Lives” follows the stories of three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – as they challenge perceptions of intelligence while navigating high school, college, and the workforce.  As a proud National Outreach Partner (NOP), NACDD looks forward to sharing opportunities to see the film in our local communities. In addition, we are eager to invite YOU, our members and networks, to participate in the Opening Doors Campaign, a high-profile and engaging initiative featuring a series of screenings, events, and social media actions to share the powerful possibilities of creating a more inclusive world.

NACDD is very excited to be part of the film’s mission to create more inclusive communities for people with disabilities. “This film aligns exactly with the work and projects of the 56 Councils on Developmental Disabilities. We are eager to see how the Councils incorporate the film into their missions and continue to change the lives of people with developmental disabilities for the better,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO of NACDD.

We hope you will join us in our work to create a world where everyone’s abilities and talents are valued. Learn more, connect on social media and view a clip at www.intelligentlives.org.

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NACDD serves as the national voice of the 56 state and territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities. We support Councils in implementing the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and promote the interests and rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

 

 

UPDATE: Monday, November 05, 2018:

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

Please see the important resource linked below and attached regarding Medicare and Medicaid Basics.

This 10 page Medicare Learning Network publication uses visuals and clear wording to outline quick facts, beneficiaries, dual eligibility and more:

MLN Program Basics Link: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/ProgramBasics.pdf

In addition, the State Overviews page of the Medicaid.gov website includes a drop-down menu to see each state and territory’s Medicaid and CHIP profile:

State Overviews Link: https://www.medicaid.gov/state-overviews

 

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 09, 2018:

UPDATE FROM THE GCDD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

I wanted to share this excellent letter to the editor of the Washington Post from Donna Meltzer, CEO, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Her op-ed highlights State Councils on DD and the recent federal appropriations bill! Efforts to educate the public on the DD Act and the role of Councils is critical in my view…so the Council has increased our awareness and outreach efforts over the past 18 months! The Arkansas DD Network (GCDD, DRA & UA Partners) collaborative projects have been successful in addressing some of our state plan goals & objectives of awareness and education for inclusion, independence, and systems change. Governor Hutchinson has contributed also by his personal support and resources. We continue our mission of advocating to improve the lives of individuals with functional and access needs!!! Please click op-ed link or read below:

 Washington Post Article

Eric P. Munson, Executive Director
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities

COMMENTARY - Published by the Washington Post October 5, 2018

The Washington Post

Editorial-Opinions

October 5, 2018

 This Year, the Appropriations Process Worked for People with Developmental Disabilities

The Sept. 29 news article “Trump signs bill that averts shutdown, sets up border wall fight” gave scant attention to a rare bipartisan victory that will help people with developmental disabilities. The spending bill does much more than “avert” a government shutdown. For the first time since 1997, Congress passed the spending bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments ahead of the fiscal year deadline. Just in time for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, this law includes funding for the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities that use their federal funding to invest in local projects that increase access to inclusive employment, education, housing and transition services for people with developmental disabilities and more. These programs can now operate without the threat of continuing resolutions that previously hurt commerce and innovation by creating massive uncertainty and additional administrative cost.

When the appropriations process works, it allows us to engage state, local, nonprofit and for-profit partners to fill gaps in services for people with developmental disabilities, just as Congress intended when it passed the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act more than 50 years ago authorizing these funds. I hope Congress and the president will continue to pass timely appropriations in the years to come.

Donna Meltzer, Washington, D.C.

The writer is chief executive of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

 

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 1, 2018

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE

COMMENTARY - Published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette July 30, 2018

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

Arkansas leading in job training for individuals with developmental disabilities; Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities supports continued advances

An Arkansas that provides more employment opportunities and resources to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) is imperative to keeping Arkansas a model state for workforce inclusion.

A report conducted by U.S. News & World Report ranked Arkansas No. 1 for individuals with DD to be employed due to educational and training opportunities offered across the state. The state’s DD Network boasts a long list of organizations and agencies dedicated to creating opportunities for inclusion, integration and independence. The No. 1 ranking is a testament to their work.

At the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, we are committed to supporting the state’s DD Network, so that it can continue to serve individuals with DD and their families with the highest level of needed services. Together with the DD Network, we oversee the implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) in Arkansas, which provides funds so that people with DD have access to and participate in all aspects of community life, including integrated employment, an integral option within the continuum of opportunities and services available to individuals with DD.

The most impressive thing I’ve seen among those in the DD community is their determination and passion to contribute to our state’s workforce. And there are several stand-out examples of programs preparing people with DD for work.

In Hot Springs, the Arkansas Career Training Institute is a 24-hour rehabilitation center offering vocational training and certifications in welding, cosmetology and culinary arts. And, through the University of Arkansas Pulaski Tech’s 3D program, individuals with DD receive hands-on lab practice, planning, instruction and student mentoring while working toward obtaining certification in culinary and hospitality. The program also provides individuals with DD critical thinking training and workplace professionalism skills.

Large corporations such as Walgreens have made strides to be inclusive and provide proper job training for individuals with DD and make the efforts sustainable. With Transitional Work Group Program and Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, Walgreens has been able to retain employees, tap into a diverse pool of workforce talent and grow its knowledge about its DD customer base. Disability or not, Walgreens’ expectations are the same for its employees: they are held at the same workplace standards and paid at the same rate. Anderson University conducted a case study on the two Walgreens distribution centers where 38 percent of employees were individuals with DD and found that the centers had a higher rate of productivity and innovation thanks to their cultivated atmosphere.

Arkansas has gained a chapter of the U.S. Business Leadership Network that is “driving success through disability inclusion.” Corporations such as J.B. Hunt, Murphy USA, Walmart, Tyson and T.J. Maxx have joined this national network to provide employment opportunities to individuals with DD.  T.J. Maxx in North Little Rock has already seen the benefits of hiring individuals with DD.

The Council will continue to increase awareness of the value of hiring individual with DD. We want individuals with DD to work, to be independent and to be active, contributing members of their communities. If we can raise awareness and educate those around us, including business owners, we can give a lot of people with DD the ability to advocate for themselves and gain competitive employment. If we can accomplish this, we will have done a very positive thing.

Please remember that individuals with DD want to be treated with respect and listened to just like anyone else. They have feelings. They want to work. They want to live independently. They want to be part of the community. They want to talk about the Razorbacks.

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UPDATE: Monday, June 25, 2018

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES UPDATE - PRESS RELEASE

NEWS - For Immediate Release

Information Contact:  Eric Munson, Executive Director, 501-682-2912, eric.munson@dfa.arkansas.gov

Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities meets federal compliance bar, is better positioned to support the Arkansas DD community into the future

 LITTLE ROCK (June 25, 2018) – The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities’ three and one-half years early completion of a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) has paved the way for the Council to move forward in overseeing the implementation of the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act).

 “It is exciting to know the dedication and hard work by our Council have allowed us to accelerate the completion of our CAP and to do so far ahead of schedule,” said Eric Munson, the Council’s executive director. “We hope other states seeking to make turnarounds will view Arkansas as a model and use some of our best practices to help them achieve success.”

 The completion of the CAP brought Arkansas’s Council into compliance with the DD Act. This allowed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to remove the “high-risk” status that was placed on the Council in 2015.

 “The Council’s turnaround is phenomenal,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “Just three years ago, the federal Department of Health and Human Services classified the Council as ‘high risk,’ cut funding and limited its activities. Through its strong leadership and hard work, a completely revamped Council responded to the challenge and resolved critical issues. Congratulations and thank you to the Council for overcoming the obstacles and leading the way. This is the way Arkansas does things.”

 The DD Act provides federal funds so that people with developmental disabilities has access to and participates in all aspects of community life. The Council – alongside partners in the statewide DD Network – oversees the implementation of the DD Act in Arkansas by connecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the resources and programs they need to be independent, productive, integrated and included into all parts of community life.

 The current Council was created by Governor Hutchinson via an Executive Order on July 30, 2015. The governor’s action came after AIDD and ACL suspended the Council’s authority to administer federal program funds to support implementation of the DD Act in Arkansas. He appointed an all-new, 23-member governing board; a new executive director, Eric Munson of Little Rock, and three new staff members were hired.

 “The Council’s diligent work and great accomplishment have allowed us to look to the future for Arkansans with developmental disabilities by creating opportunities for integration, inclusion and independence,” Council Chairman Chris Johnson said.

 “The support from key leaders, including the governor, of the developmental disabilities community through the Council’s work creates opportunities for advocacy, capacity-building and systems change to flourish. …” Sheryl Matney, director of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities’ Information & Technical Assistance Center for Councils on Developmental Disabilities. “The Council is addressing complex issues and developing and fostering key relationships with stakeholders working on issues important to people with developmental disabilities and their families.”

For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, visit GCDD.ar.gov and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE: Friday, June 22, 2018 

ADMINISTRATION FOR COMMUNITY LIVING (ACL) UPDATE

June 22, 2018
A Milestone for Community Living: Reflecting on 19 Years of Olmstead

By Lance Robertson, ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

The right to live independently, integrated into the community, is a cornerstone of the disability rights movement. It's also the core of the mission for the Administration for Community Living - it's even built into our name. ACL was created around the fundamental principle that all people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and fully participate in their communities.

For decades, people with disabilities have worked to turn this principle into a reality. Looking at this history, certain moments stand out as turning points. For example, the passage and implementation of landmark legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act have each helped make community living possible for more Americans.

Today, we celebrate the anniversary of another important milestone. Nineteen years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v L.C. that people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated into institutions (like nursing homes and other facilities) and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible.

The Olmstead decision opened the door to innovations and programs that make services and supports more available, allowing people to live the lives they choose, in the communities they choose, with family and friends. It also has given the aging and disability networks a new tool to advance community living. I am proud of the work ACL, the predecessor organizations it brought together in 2012, and the many organizations we fund have done to fulfill Olmstead's promise and make a difference in peoples' lives.

 

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NACDD UPDATE:

NACDD received the numbers for the FY 2018 Omnibus which Congress is currently completing. The DD Councils have been given a $3million increase finally reaching our goal of $76m. Our sister programs, the UCEDDs and P&As received a $2million increase and PNS received a $2million increase as well. This news shows that Congress really values the DD Act programs and our contributions to systems change. NACDD expects this omnibus to be completed within a few days. More on that and the prognosis for FY ’19 soon.

Donna A. Meltzer, CEO

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

1825 K Street, NW Suite 600

Washington, DC 20006

202-506-5813 extension 103

dmeltzer@nacdd.org

www.nacdd.org

 

UPDATE: Thursday, January 18, 2018

NACDD UPDATE:

NACDD Statement on OIG Report-For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Donna Meltzer, CEO, dmeltzer@nacdd.org

US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES REPORT ON HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES SHOWS NEED FOR GREATER INVESTMENT AND OVERSIGHT

WASHINGTON – Today, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Inspector General released a report on widespread abuse in group homes for people with developmental disabilities. While it is important to shed light on and appropriately address such deplorable abuse, NACDD believes that the ability and opportunity to live independently in the community remains an important civil right.

This report about the abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities living in group homes is certainly cause for alarm and signals the need for a rededication to ensuring everyone has the freedom to live safe from harm. However, we are concerned that some see this as a call for returning to the time when people with I/DD were placed in institutions and hidden away from the community.

“It is life in the community that really is safest,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. “When people live, work and play in the community they are visible and folks look out for them and know when something is wrong.”

As Congress and the courts have made clear, society’s instinct to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities is a form of discrimination, which continues to be a serious and pervasive social problem. Our tragic history of institutions, begun with the best of intentions, resulted in facilities that largely did a great disservice to people with I/DD. Even today, smaller homes that are essentially mini institutions are problematic as evidenced by this report.

“We have the benefit of years of research and outcome studies that show most people with disabilities who have moved from institutions into community environments have made significant gains in adapting to the freedom enjoyed by persons without disabilities. The strong bonds created between people with and without disabilities integrated in the community has led to better outcomes for everyone,” said Meltzer. “There are fiscal and practical challenges with community living, too. State and federal budget cuts have made it harder to provide high quality services and supports in the community. However, returning to the dark days of segregating people with

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