Happy Friday everyone. Below is an important alert and update from Amber Smock, Access Living’s Director of Advocacy. The alert calls on everyone to reach out to six of Illinois’ legislative leaders. It’s an easy process. Follow the link here or below and one message will go to all six legislators.
More than 300 advocates filled the Capitol Rotunda on March 25 for the Third annual Going Home Rally for community reintegration and independence in Illinois
Dear Access Living friends and allies,
We have an action alert for you to do today, plus a recap of this week!
First, we’d like to call on you to take action at this link to let our legislature’s leaders know that we can not keep taking cutbacks to key community services like independent living, mental health supports, home services, and public transit. One email will automatically send to the top six leaders in this budget fight; you can CALL them too at their district offices:
Senate President John Cullerton (D) (773) 883-0770
Senate Minority Leader Christine Christine Radogno (R)
Senate Appropriations I Chair Heather Steans (D) (773) 769-1717
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) (773) 581-8000
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R) (630) 325-2028
Human Services-Appropriations Chair Greg Harris (D)
Every email and every call is recorded by their staff in the constituent records, and the leaders check to see how many people are contacting them. Can you make this happen TODAY?
The reason this is so important is because this week, the General Assembly passed a bill to fix the giant hole in last year’s budget, which did not have enough money to finish the year. There was a 2.25% across the board cut for most items (with an exception for some mental health and developmental disabilities programs), and big cuts to “special state funds.” Not a pretty bill, but it is done and anyone who gets state funding is figuring out the impact now.
Because that has now passed, it is time to bear down to fight for next year’s budget, the one that begins on July 1 of this year, which is what the Governor’s proposal has been about. The legislative leaders REALLY need to hear from YOU about your concerns for disability supports. The good news is, people with disabilities ROCKED the Capitol this week!
On Wednesday, about 30 Access Living community members joined 300 other folks with Going Home Illinois for an amazing rally in the Capitol Rotunda. It happened to be the MS Society’s lobby day too so there were lots of people there visiting legislative offices to fight for disability issues. The Going Home Coalition called on Governor Rauner to close six of Illinois’ seven large state-operated developmental centers, or institutions, for people with developmental disabilities. They operate at a total cost of $429 million to the state to serve 1,730 people; those 1,730 people could be served in the community at a cost of $92 million. Kudos to the advocates for taking a stand! You did a wonderful job.
So please, help us build on the good work this week by contacting the six leaders RIGHT NOW!
Let’s go Illinois!
Director of Advocacy, Access LIving