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Partisan JCAR Vote Approves Dangerous DHS Overtime Policy Despite Outcry from Stakeholders

Man in red shirt in wheelchair, with crowd behind him, reads from a script at news conference
Vincent Smith (Red Shirt in Front Row) reads a statement after JCAR votes to approve dangerous overtime guidelines
Partisan JCAR Vote Approves Dangerous DHS Overtime Policy Despite Outcry from Stakeholders

Thousands of People with Disabilities and Caregivers Face Uncertain Future under Inflexible Policy that Undermines Consumer Control & Federal Overtime Laws

Springfield – In a vote along party lines, republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted to approve Governor Bruce Rauner’s DHS Overtime Policy. Over the last year, people with disabilities, their caregivers, and advocates have warned about the devastating affects this misguided policy would have on the lives of consumers and workers in the DHS Home Services Program (HSP). Despite the outcry from stakeholders, Bruce Rauner and DHS refused to meet with those impacted and instead stayed the course to implement their rules.

Following is statement on behalf of Access Living, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the JCAR vote:

“Today, thousands of people with disabilities and personal assistants in the DHS Home Services Program were abandoned by republican JCAR members. Hundreds of phone calls, emails, and personal letters were submitted to JCAR prior to their vote highlighting the problems with this policy. Instead of heeding the warnings, republican JCAR members voted to undermine the strength of the Home Services Program and the independence of people with disabilities.

“No one won today with this unfortunate vote – not people with disabilities, not personal assistants, and certainly not Illinois taxpayers. The minor cost-savings projected from this misguided policy will be completely negated if only 182 individuals with disabilities are forced into more costly nursing home care as a result, stripping them of their dignity and independence and leaving Illinois taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Our coalition vows to continue the fight against this terrible policy and our commitment to reaching a fair agreement that will protect the health and safety of people with disabilities remains.”

For more information, contact Kaitlin DeCero, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Kaitlin.DeCero@seiuhcil.org (312) 607-0590; or Gary Arnold, Access Living GArnold@accessliving.org (312) 640-2199