Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Sister's Love and Concern

My name is Tiffany Resendiz and I am a care provider for my little Sister Victoria Trueblood. My sister Victoria is 18 years old and was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome when she was about 5 years old. Her Syndrome keeps her from walking and talking, the things you and I might take for granted. She is mentally about the age of a 6 year old and acts like a little baby would.

I have been caring for my sister for about 4 years now and I couldn't picture myself doing anything else. My sister is such a joy to send time with. My sister is currently on a number of medications. She takes 2 medications for her seizures, 1 for her back pain due to a Harrington rod, 1 for her indigestion problems and the list continues on and on. As of currently, she has 420 hours for care providing for her, without which I don't know what my mom would do.

Taking care of Victoria is a 24 hour job, she even needs to be listened to through the course of the night due to many Rett Syndrome girls passing away in their sleep. The job which entails taking care of Victoria is not a easy job at all but I wouldn't see myself doing anything else. The thought of not having the hours available for taking care of Victoria is a idea that my mind would never want to grasp. I am not in one bit afraid of losing the hours for self pity but the thought of Victoria not having hours to receive proper care for bath time and nightly activities scares me to death.

On the topic of health care such as dentist appointments, eye doctor appointments and prescriptions being cut could be severe and even deadly to a person with special needs like my sister. Without her medications my sister couldn't survive even a day and the thought of living without my sister is the worst thing imaginable. Without eye glasses adults and even children have no way of seeing and for some disabled people seeing is everything to them when they cant walk or talk. Seeing is all they have. Not being able to go the dentist is just as horrible because these are the only teeth they are going to have and if this privilege is taken away how will their teeth be properly cared for?? Could you imagine haveing no money or means to pay for the basic things like a simple teeth cleaning or fluoride treatment.

I'm sure many non-disabled people couldn't imagine what this would be like because they have proper medical care, but for me with hands on experience it could be vital for the survival of someone like my little sister. I love my sister very much and the thought of her turning 18 didn't scare me so much until I saw the cuts that were being made and the decisions that were underway.

I am asking you to think about the many disabled adults who are affected and ask yourself, If I was disabled, would I want for myself what I am cutting from so many other disabled people?? Put yourself In my shoes for a day, taking care of a helpless person that has no means but to be in the graces of others and I bet you will find your answer changes. Please, for the sake of a little girl that is disabled and many others who cant speak for themselves, reconsider your decision. If my little sister cant speak then I alone will be her voice.

Tiffany Resendiz

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not One Step Back!

I want to talk about the danger to community services for those with a developmental disability during this Legislative session. The current political landscape does not look promising for community services as the Legislature struggles to close a projected shortfall for the coming two years.

During the legislative session three budget proposals are created, the Governor's, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Although these proposals will differ slightly from one another, we can be sure that there will be significant cuts offered in the discretionary spending areas of the budget. Services for developmental disabilities are in this area of the budget. I have seen the proposal for the Governors supplemental budget and though some of them may change for the better, we cannot count on it.

Currently the Governor proposes the elimination of all medication coverage for persons on Medicaid, with the exception of those provided within a medical facility. If this is allowed to stand, persons with developmental disabilites who do not have the resources to pay for the everyday medication that allows them to function and reside in the community, would no longer have medication available to them.

All dental care, with the exception of emergency pain control, would be eliminated. This could mean that unless a tooth is pulled, there is essentially no treatment and if the patient needs pain medication after leaving the dental office it will not be available, because it would be an outpatient medication.

Eyeglasses would be eliminated.

These are just three of the programs currently scheduled for elimination. Others are proposed for reductions in funding from 2% to 50% depending on the program.

Although this is not an accurate figure, if say you had 120 hours of family support service available to you, it could be reduced to 80 hours.

Providers of Residential Services would receive enough of a cut that their ability to hire and retain employees will be seriously impaired. Case managers working with the unserved will be eliminated. Job placement services for those leaving school will no longer exist.

For all of us, and the ones who need service, this may well be our Alamo.

Now is the time for all good persons to heed the call to arms to prevent the loss of services that those who came before us fought so hard to attain and to keep them from slipping into the abyss of the closet.

Now is the time to heed the call Stalin gave to his Commanders when the Germans were twenty miles from Moscow. The message was simple, "not one step back".

I am asking that each of you join me in the upcoming battle to preserve meaningful services in the community for those with a developmental disability and I ask you for one simple thing, ten minutes of your time to contact your representatives in Olympia on this issue. I further ask that you coordinate your effort through The Arc so that the message will remain in front of our Legislators throughout the session.

Some of you will be thinking that there will be enough others to carry the load or let the good intention of calling fade like a distant memory. At this point in the history of Community Services I cannot over stress the importance of your involvement.

For those of you who do not think you have the skill to articulate the message, I would say you only have to look at a stammering child asking you for something to realize that although the words are not perfect and the child is stammering, the message comes through loud and clear.

I ask this Chapter to take on the task of coordination and to ensure you have the information needed to make the call.

If you are a person with a developmental disability, a parent, a friend or perhaps a service provider, tell how these draconian cuts will affect you or the ones you care about.

Ten minutes of your time is not a great deal to request and that ten minutes you spend may well be the factor that saves a service or for that matter many services.
Even if it looks like we are not going to be totally successful, we might just be able to accomplish what those at the Alamo did and give those who follow a greater chance to prevail.

I want to thank each and every one of you for listening. I hope that each of you has a joyous holiday season and until we meet again may God forever hold you in the palm of his hand.

By Lew Isham

Lew Isham has been a member of The Arc of Kitsap County for over thirty years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Washington State.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Make your vote an informed one!

The Advocacy Partnership Project, a program of The Arc of Washington State, puts the power of change into the hands of people with developmental disabilities and their families. One of the goals of the project is to provide the information to make informed decisions to self advocates, their family and friends, providers who serve them and interested community members. Toward that goal, The Arc created a short questionnaire and emailed it to candidates running for the state legislature. We have compiled the responses received, by district, for advocates to review and make informed choices on election day. If you are unsure what district you live in, go to and enter your address.

Each response contains the candidates name and email address (when available) so that if no response was returned, you can email your questions to the candidate personally or ask for additional information on responses submitted. Your vote is your power! Make sure you are informed when you mark your ballot!

Here’s a link to the questionnaire online:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Critical Budget Action Needed!

H.R. 4213, originally named the "American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act" has now been renamed the "Unemployment Compensation Extension Act." It originally included a 6 month extension of the FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage) increase. The FMAP extension was removed and the bill is now moving forward just addressing unemployment benefits.

Most services that individuals with developmental disabilities receive from our state are paid for by state funds and FMAP funds. Because of the recession, states were granted a temporary increase in the FMAP percentage they received. HR 4213 was supposed to extend that increase for another 6 months. Because it appeared it would pass, our state built last year's budget on the assumption we would receive that extra funding.

If Congress does not approve the FMAP funding by the Aug. 9 recess, the Governor has said that she would have no choice but to make across-the-board cuts of 4 to 5 percent to make up for the $480 million dollars shortfall. This means many services would be cut or eliminated.

Time is of the essence! Call your Senators today and ask them to fight to get the extension of the FMAP increase put back into HR 4213. The Senate will likely vote on this bill later this week, then it moves on to the House. We hope Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell will push to include this before it is voted on.

Act now by phone and email at

UPDATE: The Senate passed HR 4213 on July 21, 2010 WITHOUT including the FMAP extension. Senator Murray continues to work with the House to get it included in the bill on the House floor. Calls and emails needed now to your Representative, calls are best as they are counted by issue. Follow the link above to act.

UPDATE: HR 4213 passed both House on July 22, 2010 without FMAP extension. Not giving up, Congress is in session until August 9th.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Got any money saving ideas?

This year is shaping up to be another difficult budget time for our state legislature. We are looking at another $3 billion dollar shortfall this biennium. Since 2008 our state has had to figure out how to deal with a $12 billion shortfall, $5.1 billion of which was filled by cuts to services and progams,$3.6 billion from federal funds, $1.7 billion transferred funds, $.8 billion from new revenue, $.6 billion from the Rainy Day Fund and an ending fund balance of $.25 billion.

The recession is just part of the reason. More people are needing services like Medicaid, health care costs are rising, the prison population is growing, more children are enrolling in public schools and there are increasing state employee pension obligations. We lost $7.8 billion in expected state revenues because of low consumer spending, home values and sales dropped as well as other factors.

Our economy is improving, but at a very slow rate. It will take a few years before we can rebound from this. Currently our state's revenue is comprised 44.7% from taxes, 27.6% from federal grants, 24.7% from charges and miscellaneous revenues and 3% from licenses, permits and fees.

Governor Gregoire is approaching this upcoming budget using Priorities Of Government (POG). This budget process starts with a zero-base new budget. Each piece of the budget will be looked at as to whether it should be in the state's budget based on several criteria in three categories:

1. Is the activity an essential service?
2. Does state government have to perform the activity or can it be provided by others?
3. Can the activity be eliminated or delayed in recessionary times?
4. Does the activity need to be paid for with state general funds? Should users pay a portion of the cost?
5. Are there federal funds or other fund sources available to support this activity?

6. Are there more cost-effective, efficient ways to do the activity?

7. Can the activity be the subject of a performance contract?
8. Can the activity be the subject of a performance incentive?

Governor Gregoire is seeking public input on the budget. She has arranged to hold four public meetings in Tacoma, Everett, Vancouver and Spokane to ask for suggestions on ideas citizens may have regarding areas where money could be saved or work done more cost-effectively. The public is invited to share ideas at

Once an idea is posted on the web site, citizens can vote whether they support that idea or not. The ideas with the most votes rise to the top, which will help the Governor as she creates this next budget. Some ideas are fairly broad, such as welfare reform. Others are specific, such as not requiring a front license plate.

Be involved! If you have an idea, submit it. You could help save a program important to you with your suggestion of how to do it more efficiently or by suggesting somewhere to cut spending not needed right now.

Developmental Disability advocates are drafting efficiency ideas to present to members of the Governor's Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget. If you have ideas that will help preserve services important to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families let us know. Remember, change is made by those who show up. Let your voice be heard!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

House Human Services Work Session on Autism

On June 16, 2010 the House Human Services held a work session to examine the current strategies and best practices for diagnosing and providing services for persons with autism and their families and will look at how other states have addressed autism and its increased rate of diagnoses. Presenters included Dr. Wendy Stone, Director of Autism Center, University of Washington; Dr. Charles Cowan, Medical Director Seattle Children's Autism Center; Maria Nardella, MA, RD, CD, Manager, Children with Special Health Care Needs Program, Washington Department of Health; Dr. Glenn Tripp, Medical Director, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital; Diana Stadden, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, The Arc of Washington State; and Dawn Sidell, Executive Director, Northwest Autism Center.

TVW has uploaded video of the hearing on their website. You can access it via the links below. Also included is a link to the committee website where a PDF version of all the PowerPoint presentations can be accessed.

Please click here to watch video or paste this url into your browser address bar:

Committee meeting documents are available online:

The committee was very receptive to the information shared and were very clear that they expect some agency requested legislation regarding autism concerns from the Department of Health for the upcoming legislative session. It is clear that we do not have an accurate way of documenting how many people in Washington State have autism.

The work of the 2005 Caring for Individuals with Autism Task Force was discussed and it was disappointing to report that only one recommendation from the task force had been accomplished, that being the creation of an Autism Guidebook for Washington State. The book is very beneficial and addresses issues from birth through the lifespan, but there is no funding to print more copies of it. Because of the task force work, we were able to receive a grant from the Federal Combating Autism Act and now have an Autism Advisory Council looking at issues surrounding children with autism (it does not look at adult issues).

The Arc of Washington State is compiling possible ideas for legislation that will benefit families with autism. Ideas range from providing specific autism interventions such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to family supports such as Parent to Parent and additional Home and Community Based Services waiver openings. You are encouraged to offer your ideas for legislation in the comments box below.

Diana Stadden
Parent of a 17 year old with autism
Poicy & Advocacy Coordinator
The Arc of Washington State

Friday, June 18, 2010

HR 1255 - What is it really about?

The Arc of Washington State recently posted an Action Alert at where we encourage you to call and email your congressional leaders.

Here is the summary written by the Congressional Research Service for HR 1255:

"Prohibits any entity that receives funds from the federal government from using them to file a class action lawsuit against an intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded on behalf of any facility resident unless the resident (or the resident's legal representative), after receiving notice of the proposed class action lawsuit, has the opportunity to elect not to have the action apply to the resident."

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) opposes this bill and is also encouraging people to contact congressional leaders and ask them to oppose it. The bill is the same one that was brought forward in 2007 (HR 3995) and it died in committee then.

On the surface, this bill would appear to be protecting the individual with a developmental disability. In reality, this bill would greatly limit the ability of protection and advocacy agencies to bring class action lawsuits regarding institutions for people with developmental disabilities. It would allow guardians and other representatives to “opt out” a resident from a class action.

The best interest of the individual with a developmental disability is not always served by the guardian, particularly when some attorneys make money by being the paid guardian for 20, 30 or more people living in institutions. It is less work for these paid guardians to keep their clients in an institution than to have to oversee services provided in the community.

The 2009 Facilities Closure report (one of many) commissioned by our legislature recommended that Washington close all but a few RHC beds by 2019 and convert Lakeland, Fircrest, and Yakima Valley into three small community support centers. Each center would have clinical expertise to support people with autism and their families. These three centers would also retain a small number of beds to honor the state’s commitment to allow people and their families to age-in-place.

The Olmstead Decision in 1999 affirmed the right of individuals with disabilities to live in their community and not be required to live in institutional settings. The 'integration mandate' of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public agencies to provide services "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities." It is a violation of an individual’s civil rights to institutionalize them because it is easier for the guardian. We must look at what is the least restrictive environment that allows individuals to participate in community activities, be employed and be provided the freedom and opportunities that every other Washingtonian enjoys.

Advocating for full community participation for all,
Diana Stadden

As a follow-up:

I received this clarification from NDRN staffer Eric Beuhlmann responding to the Developmental Disabilities blog criticizing the above blog entry:

“Where the legislation clearly restricts the choice of the individuals with disabilities is where their choice differs from their legal representative. Because the definition of legal representative is pretty broad, it can cover situations where the individual is capable of making their own decisions, but because of the legislation that choice will be overridden by the choice of the legal representative to opt out.”

Additional follow-up:
A letter of opposition to HR 1255 was sent to Barney Frank and signed by organizations of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). This letter is posted on The Arc of Washington's web site at

August 19, 20101 update:
ABA passes resolution opposing Barney Frank’s HB 1255

On August 10, 2010 American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates approved a resolution creating a policy in support of the national protection and advocacy system at the ABA Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. Specifically, their new policy “supports the reauthorization, funding and authority of the Protection and Advocacy System (P&A) and related programs of legally based advocacy services protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and opposes legislation that would place limits on class actions on behalf of persons with disabilities beyond what is required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” DisAbility Rights Washington is the Governor designated protection and advocacy system for Washington state.

The resolution is considered timely by disability rights activists because Rep. Barney Frank is currently sponsoring House Bill 1255 which would place a limit on class action lawsuits brought by P&A agencies. HB 1255 is supported by the Voice of the Retarded and other advocates in favor of maintaining large institutional setting for people with developmental disabilities. For more information regarding Rep. Barney Frank’s bill follow the first link below. For more information regarding the ABA House of Delegates follow the second link.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The "Other" Washington

Last week I attended the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington DC, the "other" Washington. The Arc of the US and five other organizations who advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities sponsored the seminar which wrapped up with a day of visits to congressional leaders in our nation's capitol.

The seminar provided fact sheets on a variety of issues. You can view them at (click the General Info tab, then Attendee resources). You will find other useful information on this site too.

Here in Washington State, self advocates worked very hard and got the Respectful Language bill passed, which replaces the phrase "mentally retarded" with "intellectual disability" in all state language. In the "other" Washington they call this bill "Modernization of Disability Terminology". It essentially does the same thing at the federal level. There are two identical bills, S. 2781 (Rosa's Law) in the Senate and H.R. 4544 (Elizabeth A. Connelly Act) in the House. Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to support these important bills.

Other issues we discussed with congressional staff included thanking them for Health Care Reform, Long Term Services and Supports Provisions in Health Reform, Employment, Direct Support Workers, the 2011 Budget and Appropriations including continuing the increase in the FMAP, the D.D. Act, Education, the ABLE Act, Housing and Autism. You can learn more about these issues at the web site listed above.

Maria Cantwell was very gracious. She listened intently as Mike Raymond, a self advocate in our group, talked about growing up in Rainier School (one of our state's institutions). With tears in his eyes he told her the reason he hates the "r" word so much is because that is what the staff there would call him all the time. He asked her to please pass the bill like he helped do in our state.

It was a great trip and our group was glad to have the chance to thank congressional leaders for their work on passing the health care bill and to advocate for the programs and services most important to them.

On a final note, while we were in Washington DC our legislature at home finally passed a revenue package and a budget in the last days of the special session. Advocates for developmental disability issues were pleased that the final budget provided the funding for most of the services they were fighting to keep intact. Although the budget has not yet been signed by the Governor (where there is always the possibility she could veto part of it) you can see what was in the final budget the legislature passed as well as the bills that made it through the process at

Next year promises to be another difficult budget year so the time to start preparing is now. Thank you to everyone for your advocacy!

Diana Stadden
The Arc of Washington State
Advocacy Partnership Project

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Olympia Insider March 31, 2010

Not done yet?

March 11th was supposed to be the final day of legislative session. If you walk around the capitol campus it seems like session is over and everyone has gone home, but looks are deceiving. Because the House and Senate had not reached an agreement on the final budget and the revenue package to pay for it, the Governor called for a special session and asked legislators to finish their work within seven days. However, once a special session is called, the legislature can stay in session up to thirty days, despite the Governor’s request.

We are now in week three of the special session. Most legislators have been sent home except for occasional floor activity to vote on bills Necessary To Implement the Budget (NTIB). During a very difficult time for our state financially, the public is questioning why there has been no agreement, especially with a one-sided supermajority, but it is difficult to get agreement on issues such as raising taxes during an election year. The cost of holding a special session runs about $18,000 a day, though some legislators have declined to be paid, so it is running about $14,000 a day.

There is not much advocacy that can be done right now. Most lobbyists have packed up and gone home and are just waiting for some final word. The sticking point is in the revenue package. The Senate wants to include a .2% sales tax and the House will not agree. The Governor is now warning legislators that if they do not come to an agreement by the end of the special session, she will be forced to make a 20% cut across the board. Keep in mind that about 70% of the budget is protected by our state constitution or by federal rules attached to matching funds. This leaves Human Services programs as an area most likely to take the cuts.

There have been some amendments made to the proposed budgets such as $25,000 for DSHS and the Department of Health to do a review of all aspects of a fiscal note for the autism insurance issue. You can find the Governor/House/Senate proposed budget side-by-side with the amendments on our web site at

Some good ideas have been signed into law.

Many of the bills that affect individuals with developmental disabilities did not make it through the legislative process. We are down to one page of legislation that did make it through, most of these bills have been signed by the Governor now. You can check out our Bills of Interest and the status of bills at:

What can you do to help?

These are long, difficult days for legislators who must make hard decisions and will never make everyone happy. Let your legislators know you appreciate their dedication and ask them to come to agreement on the revenue package so our programs don’t have to be slashed.

If you are not already signed up on The Arc’s Action Alert system, get connected. Once a final budget is approved we will share the information via an Action Alert and on our blog at You can also receive quick updates via a “tweet” from our Twitter account ArcofWA. Did you miss something during the regular session? Check out the Olympia Insider website ( for the podcasts of the session activities. Remember you can download these to your video-enabled handheld devices!

Change is made by those who show up, sometimes showing up means waiting, but it makes a difference!

Diana Stadden
Arc of Washington State
Advocacy Partnership Project

Monday, March 8, 2010

Olympia Insider March 1, 2010

House and Senate amended budget proposals good to people with developmental disabilities.

Both Senate and House budget proposals were released last Tuesday. Public hearings were held with lots of input provided to legislators. For individuals with developmental disabilities, the House cut very little in community services for people with DD, but we had work to do in the Senate, as there were some significant cuts in their budget proposal. The budget bills were scheduled for “executive session” where Ways and Means committee members can propose amendments to the budget before it is passed to the chamber floor for a vote of all members. Senators proposed several amendments which not only restored some of the cuts in the original budget bill, but also restored funding for the self-advocacy programs and Parent to Parent programs that were eliminated last year. You can find the chart at

The Senate budget proposal calls for the close of Frances Haddon Morgan Center. One of the proposed amendments which had bipartisan support in the Senate was to direct DSHS to report to the legislature by the end of this year on the closure of additional Residential Habilitation Center (RHC). The House budget proposal calls for the closure of one cottage at Rainier and the assessment of all RHC residents to determine alternative placements.

Now we must watch and make sure legislators hold fast to the DD funding proposed as they merge their final budgets.

Bills are nearing the end of their journey.

Friday was the final cut-off for bills to be voted out of the second phase of their journey. If any amendments were added to a bill in the chamber that just passed them, they now need to return to their “house of origin” to see if those legislators will agree with the amendments added. Once both chambers agree on the language of the bill it moves to the Governor’s office for her signature. To see the status of the bills currently, check out our Bills of Interest at:

What a great Advocacy Day Rally!

Despite the wind and rain, the Independent Living Day Rally had a great turnout. Huddled together, sharing umbrellas, more than 400 people showed up to voice their support of providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities in their local communities.

Community advocates also made sure legislators know that they support the legislature in restructuring the Residential Habilitation Centers in our state with the closure of Frances Haddon Morgan Center and particularly are grateful to Senator Hobbs, who added an amendment to the Senate budget that directs DSHS to close an additional RHC.

For our last Advocacy Day of the session, Ed Holen provided information about the revenue packages being proposed so that advocates would have a better understanding of what legislators are looking at as they attempt to keep from having to make cuts to programs for those with developmental disabilities in the community. Advocates who attended the last Advocacy Day also received a 2010 Advocacy Day pin as a thank you for all their hard work this session as well as pizza and cookies. “Great Job!” to everyone who has participated in Advocacy Day this legislative session. We’ll be back again next year, ready to make our voices heard again.

What can you do to help?

Thank you cards are really appreciated by legislators. Please remember to thank them for the work they are doing. These are long, difficult days for legislators who must make hard decisions and will never make everyone happy. Let your legislators know you appreciate their dedication.

Don't forget to check the Olympia Insider website ( for the new podcasts and to subscribe using iTunes or another RSS tool in order to be notified automatically when something new is posted. Remember you can download these to your video-enabled handheld devices!

Episode 9: Coming Home to the Community
Parents, care providers, and people with disabilities from around the state gathered on the capitol steps to celebrate independent living and advocate for the community services that make true inclusion possible.

Episode 10: The Final Stretch
In the final days of the 2010 session, advocates gather for one last Advocacy Day briefing before heading to the capitol with thank you notes and powerful messages for legislators still debating budget details.

Change is made by those who show up, thanks for being here this year, your voice was heard!

Diana Stadden
The Arc of washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Olympia Insider February 21, 2010

House and Senate budget proposals will be released this week.

The House budget proposal will be released Tuesday morning with the public hearing for it at 6 pm that same day. The Senate budget proposal may also be released on Tuesday, but a hearing for it has not yet been scheduled. If you want a voice in how the state spends its funding and which taxes are raised for what, now is the time to make your voice heard. As each chamber releases its budget we will update our budget side-by-side with the issues affecting those with developmental disabilities. You can find the chart at

SSB 6130, which temporarily suspends the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases in Initiative Measure No. 960 through July 30, 2011, passed both houses, allowing the legislature to save some programs through increased revenue instead of just eliminating programs. Sources of revenue suggested by the Governor in a tax plan she released last week include “sin” taxes on things such as cigarettes, candy, bottled water, things people choose to buy but are not necessities. Read the Governor’s letter and see the proposed tax changes at:

Other revenue suggestions have included raising sales tax across the board and eliminating tax loop-holes. We will watch to see which suggestions the House and Senate propose.

Halfway through session, only a third of bills we are tracking are still alive.

Last week we passed the deadline for bills to make it through their first round of committees in the chamber they originated in. Those that made it through their “House of Origin” now go through the process again in the other chamber. Most will start in the policy committee, then go to the fiscal one if there is money attached to it. The House cut-off is February 23rd for policy committees and February 25th for fiscal ones. The Senate policy committee deadline is February 26th and their fiscal committee deadline is March 1st. March 5th is the last day for bills to get passed in either chamber. The chart of bills we have been monitoring now has one page of bills that are still alive and two pages of bills that died. To see the status of the bills currently, check out our Bills of Interest at:

This Wednesday is the big Advocacy Day rally!

This Wednesday, February 24th, is the Independent Living Day Rally. Last year we had over 700 people attend the rally. Our goal this year is to get at least 1,000 people there. If you still have your scarf, don't forget to wear it this week. A limited supply of scarves will be handed out to advocates at the rally so plan to attend this Wednesday. Help legislators recognize our blue scarves signifying the need to fund community services as our choice (currently the only state funded choice is a Residential Habilitation Center or RHC). To learn more about Advocacy Day go to

What can you do to help?

Please remember to thank legislators for the work they are doing. They are getting a lot of negativity from people who don’t want to have taxes raised. The reality is that 70% of the state budget protected by our constitution or by federal rules, the only real place to cut is in human services. These are long, difficult days for legislators who must make hard decisions and will never make everyone happy. Let your legislators know you appreciate their dedication.

Announcements for the Olympia Insider issues, the Olympia Insider Podcasts and Action Alerts are sent via The Arc of Washington State Action E-list at You can sign up there and the e-list makes it very easy for you to let your legislators know what is most important to you. When bills or budget items need emails or phone calls targeted to your legislator you will receive an email with basic information about the issues and a suggested email you can revise or just send that will go directly to your legislator from you with just the click of a button.

Watch for Action Alerts on the budget this week. Your voice will be important as legislators come down to these final weeks. Legislative session ends on March 11th. You can also use letters, phone calls, email and personal visits to make sure your opinions on the bills or budget items you are most concerned about are heard. This week’s budget proposals and their public hearings will be critical to what services will continue and what programs will be eliminated, your legislators need to hear from you.

Don't forget to check the Olympia Insider website ( every week for new podcasts, and to subscribe using iTunes or another RSS tool in order to be notified automatically when something new is posted. Remember you can download these to your video-enabled handheld devices!

Episode 8: Budget Priorities - Director of Financial Management, Victor Moore sits down with the Olympia Insider to discuss budget priorities and the good financial sense of bringing people with developmental disabilities home to their communities, neighborhoods and schools.

Change is made by those who show up, in person, by phone or by email.

Diana Stadden
The Arc of Washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Monday, January 25, 2010

Olympia Insider January 22, 2010

It’s a flash flood of legislation.

Things are moving fast in this very short session. Many bills have been introduced, already had a hearing, and been passed out of their committee, waiting for a floor vote to move to the other chamber and go through the process again. Some of the bills are wonderful ideas such as changing language in state law (HB 2490) and recommending Congress do the same (HJM 4024) to eliminate the “R” word. HB 2801 expands tools, information & strategies for anti-harassment in public schools. There are other bills protecting vulnerable students and vulnerable adults as well as protecting individuals with developmental disabilities from becoming homeless when they leave a Residential Habilitation Center.

Some bills are a bad idea such as HB 2955, which would require a means test (income limit) for families receiving services through the Individual and Family Services program. This program provides respite to families caring for a loved one with developmental disabilities at home. It also helps pay for some therapies and in-home modifications. Means testing has been tried before. It saves no money and uses valuable case manager time to collect and evaluate family incomes.

It is also inequitable for families who choose to care for their child at home to be means tested for this small amount of support when families who choose the state Residential Habilitation Centers for their child (at a much higher cost to the state) are not means tested. You can help stop this bill by calling committee members now. Check out the Action Alert at

The deficit is still a huge question.

We still are facing at least a $2.6 billion deficit. The Economic & Revenue Forecast Council will meet on February 12th for the next revenue review. The House and the Senate budget staff are working hard to decide which recommendations from the Governor’s budget proposals they will want to keep and what other ideas they may want to include instead. Keep posted for their budget proposals. There are still many areas in the DD budget that are proposed to be eliminated or reduced by the Governor that it is important to advocate to protect now so they don’t end up in the final budget. To see a more comprehensive chart of the Governor’s proposed budget go to

Advocacy Days are here again!
The Thirtieth Annual Disabilities Legislative Reception was held last Wednesday evening in Olympia. The Autism Society of Washington held their annual Autism Awareness Day earlier that day with a record attendance. Several legislators spoke about their support for individuals and families with autism, families shared personal stories and individuals on the autism spectrum rallied the crowd as well. A brief summary of current developmental disability issues was also well attended that afternoon with many new faces coming to Olympia that day. Individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and their providers wanted their concerns to be heard.

This Wednesday starts the 2010 Advocacy Days. Last year blue scarves were provided at the Independent Living Day rally to advocates for developmental disability services in the community. If you still have your scarf, you are encouraged to wear it each time you come to Olympia. If you don’t yet have one try to wear blue colors. Last year we only provided blue scarves to advocates, this Wednesday we will be providing a blue scarf with a “Develop Abilities” button on it to each legislator. Come to Advocacy Day on Wednesday and help us distribute them to legislators.

Many community advocacy groups have pins or buttons that represent their voice. You can help deliver those to all legislators with your personal message and ask them to add the button or pin to their blue scarf. This is a great way to show unity and help legislators recognize the need. To learn more about Advocacy Day go to

Make sure to come to the rally on the February 24th Advocacy Day where we will be providing more blue scarves to advocates (there is no cost to you). Last year we had more than 700 rally participants in blue scarves on the capitol steps. This year we want to reach 1,000 participants so plan ahead!

What can you do to help?

The Arc of Washington State has an Action E-list at you can sign up for that makes it very easy for you to let your legislators know what is most important to you. When bills or budget items need emails or phone calls targeted to your legislator you will receive an email with basic information about the issues and a suggested email you can revise or just send that will go directly to your legislator from you with just the click of a button.

You can also participate in this process by letters, phone, email and personal visits to ask legislators to make sure that bills or budget items you are most concerned about get heard.

Don’t forget to check the Olympia Insider website ( every week for new podcasts, and to subscribe using iTunes or another RSS tool in order to be notified automatically when something new is posted. Remember you can download these to your video-enabled handheld devices!

Advocacy Day needs you there because change is made by those who show up!

Diana Stadden
Arc of Washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Olympia Insider January 15, 2010

The 60 day session has begun... don’t blink or you’ll miss something!

In this first week of session there was no time to acclimate. Hearings were scheduled every day, work sessions were held to help legislators learn about issues, public hearings were held on the Governor’s proposed supplemental budget and on various bills. Some bills were even moved out of committee (exec’d) in this first week (HB 2490 Respectful Language).

A bad budget year once again.

Washington State faced an all cuts budget last year to fix a $9 billion deficit. The Governor has released her 2010 supplemental budget which, by law, has to be balanced so it makes critical cuts throughout human services. This is called her Book 1 budget. She also released a Book 2 version this week that “buys back” some of those cuts by proposing revenue increases.

Although there were still many proposed cuts in her budget, she also advocated for some increase in community services based on the recommendations from the Feasibility Study that looked at the consolidation/closure of Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC). She included the study’s proposal to close Frances Haddon Morgan Center and begin downsizing Rainier.

Even more important, she acted on the study’s recommendation to build up services in the community by creating three new State Operated Living Alternatives for children coming out of the RHCs. She also directs the Division of developmental Disabilities to increase the Children’s Intensive In-home Behavior Supports program enrollees back to six children per month instead of the current one child per month in order to prevent further institutional placements of children. In addition, 12 new community respite beds are to be created. Case management and oversight is also provided for those moving out of an RHC.

The transfer of state-only employment clients has continued and the majority of those clients have been transferred to the Basic Waiver. The Governor’s budget allows for 343 graduates from this year to also be transferred to the waiver for their employment services.

The Governor also released a document entitled “Reforming how we care for Washingtonians with Developmental Disabilities” which you can view at

A partnership of several DD advocacy organizations began a new effort called “We All Belong”. The goal of "We All Belong" is to call attention to items Governor Gregoire proposed in her budget to reform how Washington supports and cares for people with developmental disabilities. You can check out the effort's website at

There are still many areas in the DD budget that are proposed to be eliminated or reduced. To see a more comprehensive chart of the Governor’s proposed budget go to

Bills are flying in and out of committees already.

This first week of session has already seen bills get “dropped” or become bill language with a bill number and be assigned to a committee. There have been a multitude of hearings and two bills in particular have already been heard in committee and have been or are scheduled for executive session. HB 2490, sponsored by Representative Angel, concludes action from HB 1835 last year that directed the Code Reviser to determine where derogatory words such as “mentally retarded” could be replaced with “intellectual disability” in state language. The bill was heard in the House State Government committee and was “exec’d” or approved and passed on to the next committee that same day. SB 6423, sponsored by Senator Fairley, revises language concerning RHCs so that we do not have to keep all five RHCs permanently open. It was heard in the Senate Health & Long Term Care committee and is scheduled for Executive Session next week.

To see all the bills we are tracking throughout the legislative session and see their status go to http://www.arc

Advocacy starts this week, get ready!

The Thirtieth Annual Disabilities Legislative Reception will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at the capitol building in Olympia. This event is designed to bring legislators and their constituents from all over Washington together to discuss issues important to the disability community. Be sure to call your three legislators’ offices and tell them you will be there and ask them to attend. Legislators are much more likely to attend if they know they will have constituents there to talk with. You can find your legislator’s phone number by going to and click on Find Your Legislator.

A rally for autism issues will take place on the Rotunda in the Legislative Building at 11:30 am that day. A brief summary of current developmental disability issues will be provided in the afternoon across the street from the capitol at The United Churches at 2:30 pm. Go have dinner after the briefing, then join us at 5:30 pm for the Legislative Reception in the Columbia Room on the first floor of the Legislative Building. For more information call toll free 1-888-754-8798.

What can you do to help?

The Arc of Washington State has an Action E-list at you can sign up for that makes it very easy for you to let your legislators know what is most important to you. When bills or budget items need emails or phone calls targeted to your legislator you will receive an email with basic information about the issues and a suggested email you can revise or just send that will go directly to your legislator from you with just the click of a button.

Advocacy Day will begin on Wednesday, January 27th. Last year we made a show of force in blue with our blue scarves denoting support for developmental disability issues. If you still have your blue scarf from last year, please bring it and wear it anytime you come to the capitol. If you don’t have a blue scarf you can wear blue colored clothing.

On the first Advocacy Day we will be delivering a blue scarf to each legislator. Many community advocacy groups have pins or buttons that represent their voice. You can deliver those to all legislators and ask them to add them to their blue scarf. February 24th will be the Independent Living Day Rally where we hope to provide another huge crowd of blue for legislators to acknowledge. A limited quantity of blue scarves will be available for advocates at the rally.

You can also participate in this process by letters, phone, email and personal visits to ask legislators to make sure that bills or budget items you are most concerned about get heard.

Come join us for the Legislative Reception and other activities on January 20th because change is made by those who show up!

Diana Stadden
Arc of Washington State
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator