NJACP is appreciative of all member advocacy to move forward on issues impacting services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thanks to all members for taking the time to advocate and sharing their agency’s experiences – this is a critical component of any advocacy success! Legislators want to hear from their constituents and must know that they care and are watching what happens with any particular issue. THANK YOU!
JESPY House has a “banner week” with connections to legislators
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27) was invited to visit JESPY House to meet with Executive Director Audrey Winkler and the individuals JESPY House serves. The Assemblywoman, who serves on two education committees and the Aging and Senior Services Committee, brought a proclamation in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month which is in March. Audrey reported the Assemblywoman spent quite a bit of time speaking with clients about their challenges, concerns and hopes, and dreams.
Then on Thursday, March 24, Assemblywomen Jasey honored JESPY’s board president for her dedication and commitment to people with IDD, at the statehouse, for Women’s History Month.
During the event at the Statehouse, JESPY’s board president was able to speak with Assemblywomen Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Chair of the Human Services Committee, and several committee members. They are interested in coming to visit JESPY and have a town hall-type meeting at SOPAC (our local arts center) to discuss challenges for people with IDD.
JESPY and Audrey had a great conversation with Governor Richard Codey (D-27) who has been an outspoken supporter of people with IDD and knows JESPY very well.
Thank you to Audrey and JESPY House who have taken the opportunity to develop relationships with their legislators. JESPY’s contacts elevate the issues impacting providers of services and supports and their impact on individuals. Site visits and meetings also provide an opportunity for legislators to meet individuals receiving services they might not otherwise have the chance the meet or be able to see community living and supports.
NJACP Members Meet with Newly Elected Legislator from District 3
Thank you NJACP members Diane Hutton Rose, Executive Director of 21 Plus and Derry Holland, CEO of Oaks Integrated for meeting with Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer(R-3). The Assemblywoman represents the district formerly represented by Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Discussion focused on opportunities for use of American Rescue Act dollars to combat current challenges with DSP shortages and proposed COLA funding in the upcoming state budget. Assemblywoman Sawyer was very responsive and supportive of including the requested funding asks and excited to hear about 21 Plus initiatives for individuals opportunity to work and exploring small business initiatives.
NJACP thanks both Diane and Derry for taking the initiative to get to know their legislators as well as advocate on behalf of members. This is also posted on the NJACP Facebook page and will be posted on NJACP’s Twitter. Any member interested in meeting with their representatives or conducting a site visit please reach out to email@example.com.
Lisa Kubisiak, Executive Director of Rescare, Kevin Lundy, and Rescare’s Corporate Vice President of Government Relations had a 25-minute call with Kaylee McGuire, Governor Murphy’s Senior Policy Advisory in the health and human services areas, in support of NJACP’s ask to restore the 20% residential enhancement. Kevin Lundy provided the following about the meeting:
We emphasized how appreciative our organization is for the strategic investments/enhancements/resources the state has provided to agencies during the pandemic. We offered that while the programs they created were meaningful/successful, their expiration has unfortunately exacerbated our workforce crisis since the beginning of the calendar year. We offered that a continuation/bridge of the enhancement would be powerful for our workforce and continuity of services.
Kaylee was clearly versed on the issue and asked great questions and did some short top-level of other states. She invited us, and we offered, to stay in touch in the coming weeks on any updates (positive workforce promotion or concerns). NJACP thanks both Lisa and Kevin for their advocacy, and is grateful.
21 Plus and Oaks Integrated Care
Senate Republic Leader Senator Steven V. Oroho, DHR ED 21 Plus, Derry Holland Chief Executive Officer Oaks Integrated Care, and Assembly Republican Leader Assemblyman John DiMaio
Diane Hutton Rose, Executive Director, 21 Plus, and Derry Holland, CEO, Oaks Integrated Care, attended the Chamber of Commerce Southern New jersey “Meet the Policymakers” event. Diane provided the following about the event. Both are NJACP Board of Directors members and identified as such at the event.
We thanked the Senator who said he supports the Charitable giving tax because charities do the work more efficiently than government – I thanked him for recognizing nonprofits provide critical services in an effective an efficient manner. I also asked the Senator and Assemblyman if we can count on their support in ensuring the budget has monies from the American Rescue Act to fund our field in order to combat the Direct Support Professional labor shortage by attracting more people to our field. This is critical to providing quality services to people with intellectual and development disabilities our vulnerable citizens of New Jersey. They enthusiastically stated they agree and will support funding to support our current system by utilizing the yet unspent monies available through the American Rescue Act.
Of the many legislators that attended the event Diane and Derry were able to connect with Senator Ed Durr and Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer from District 3 in Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties, Senator Jean Stanfield in District 8 in Burlington county, and Senate Majority Leader Steven Oroho, 24th District, Warren, Sussex and Morris and Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, District 23 in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.Federal Issues Updates
President Biden Releases FY 2023 Budget Proposal
According to ANCOR, on Monday, March 28, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal. The President’s budget proposal, which functions as a blueprint to signal the White House’s policy priorities, focuses on imposing new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and increasing defense and national security spending.
The White House requested $5.8 trillion in total and described the budget proposal as “reflect[ing] three important values: fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and abroad, and a commitment to building a better America. The budget will show how the strongest economic growth in nearly 40 years, powered by the American Rescue Plan, has put the deficit on track to drop by more than $1.3 trillion this year – the largest-ever one-year decline.”
The budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was boosted by 15% to $81.7 billion over a five-year period to bolster pandemic preparedness, including $28 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $12.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health. Also included in the White House’s proposal for HHS was a commitment to health equity, investments in mental health resources, and the creation of the Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program, a program to provide uninsured adults with access to all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at no cost.
Noticeably absent in the President’s budget proposal was specific funding requests for the President’s Build Back Better proposal, nor does it include measures to offset the costs of any future Build Back Better legislation. The proposal also does not include the COVID-19 relief funding the White House has already requested from Congress, which Congress has yet to pass after that funding was removed from the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus bill.
Senate Aging Committee Hearing Focuses on Importance of Increased Investments in Medicaid HCBS
Members who attended the NJACP Membership meeting were unable to view this HCBS hearing, you can view by clicking on the link provided by ANCOR.
The hearing, led by committee chair Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), focused on the need for investment this year in the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program to avoid the economic repercussions resulting from the exodus of direct care workers from the workforce and family caregivers being forced to reduce hours or leave the workforce to care for family members. Senator Casey stressed that the temporary American Rescue Plan funds for the HCBS program were just the start and that Congress needs to make a “much greater investment . . . to bring relief to families.”
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also spoke during the hearing in favor of the need to invest in the HCBS program. Ranking member of the committee Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) provided an opening statement that stressed the need for more self-directed care. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) questioned whether greater federal investments produce better outcomes. The panel of witnesses included: Brandon Kingsmore, Disability Advocate and Public Speaker, accompanied by Lynn Weidner, Home Care Worker, and SEIU Healthcare PA Member; Alene Shaheed, Home Care Recipient and former Florida Health Justice Project Client; Lisa Harootunian, Associate Director, Health Program, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Anne Tumlinson, CEO, ATI Advisory and Founder, Daughterhood.
ANCOR prepared for the hearing by submitting a written testimony and sending suggested hearing questions to the committee members. ANCOR’s statement was one of 335 statements submitted for the record in favor of increased investment in the HCBS program.