2017 NYSACRA-NYSRA Legislative Policy Forum

February 13, 2017
12:00 PM EST to 1:00 PM EST
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The Hart Lounge of the Egg, Empire State Plaza
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12210

Click Here to View the Agenda for the Event

Nearly 200 Advocates came together to hear from Policymakers during NYSACRA and NYSRA’s joint Legislative Forum

On Monday and Tuesday, February 13 & 14, Self-Advocates, DSPs, Parents and Provider Agencies rallied in Albany to advance NYSACRA and NYSRA’s Policy Perspectives which included advocating for a living wage for DSPs.in the I/DD sector.

The joint NYSACRA and NYSRA 2017 Legislative and Policy forum was a success with nearly 200 advocates calling upon the Governor and State Legislature to include $45 million in the final 2017-18 State Budget to support the necessary wage increases in order to address the vacancy and turnover rates that negatively impact the sector and provide for a fair wage for the backbone of the service delivery system.

As lobbying activities were taking place, NYSRA and NYSACRA planned a full agenda for the day and half event held in the Hart Lounge of The Egg at the Empire State Plaza including panel discussions on managed care and workforce issues and presentations on autism issues and care coordination organizations. On Monday afternoon, Assembly Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee chair, Honorable Aileen Gunther facilitated the panel discussion on workforce issues and Joe Erdman, Legislative Director for Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee chair, Honorable Robert Ortt facilitated the panel discussion on managed care. Both panels provided perspectives on the impact of workforce shortages as well as the move to managed care on supports and services. Following a presentation on the political, budgetary and policy landscape in Albany delivered by Jim Lytle of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, the event attendees were joined by New York State Comptroller, Honorable Thomas DiNapoli. Comptroller DiNapoli highlighted the current status of New York’s fiscal state as well as the importance of the not-for-profit sector and hit upon the high points of the #bFair2DirectCare Campaign’s advocacy efforts.

On Tuesday morning, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara discussed his autism platform and shared details on specific legislation he sponsors to raise awareness and implement strong policies to ensure the safety of people on the spectrum. Assemblyman Santabarbara kicked-off the #bFair2DirectCare pep rally and roused the crowd as they prepared for their meeting with State Legislators. Assemblyman Santabarbara was followed by the voices critical to the success of the campaign: self-advocates, direct support professionals and family members. Attendees also gained valuable insight into the Governor’s proposed budgets for OPWDD and OMH as Deputy Commissioner Kevin Valenchis (OPWDD) and Deputy Commissioner Emil Slane (OMH) provided briefings on the contents of the respective offices’ budget proposals.

The fourth annual Legislative and Policy event was a success. On behalf of NYSACRA and NYSRA we wish to thank the following presenters for taking the time from their schedules to join us: Honorable Thomas DiNapoli, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Joe Erdman, Kevin Valenchis, Emil Slane, Doug Cooper, Mike Lawler, Kate Breslin, Michael Brooks, Jason Marlowe, Brad Pivar, Kirk Lewis, Patrick McGrath, Russ Hahn and Robert Budd.