Now that the elections are behind us, our elected legislators will meet in Helena for the 63rd Montana Legislature (http://leg.mt.gov). The 2013 Legislative Session is set to begin on January 7 and will meet for 90 days, ending on April 27.
During this legislative session human service providers, including Montana’s Centers for Independent Living and personal assistance agencies, will be struggling to keep up with the cost of doing business as we are still receiving the same levels of funding as we did in 2009. There are additional concerns: personal assistance services will take a funding cut on July 1, the Montana Youth Transitions Project has been without state partnership since 2009 and there are still many people waiting to receive Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Services.
There is still hope! The budget proposed by outgoing Gov. Schweitzer contains positive suggestions, including an innovative approach to improve the current personal assistance program. The proposal would transform the existing program into what is known as the Community First Choice Option to better meet the needs of individuals who rely on personal assistance, increase payments to service providers so businesses can cover their increased costs and continue to help direct health care workers afford health care insurance.
During the 2013 Legislative Session, Montana’s Centers for Independent Living will work to protect the services that are essential for individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible and lead active and productive lives. However, we cannot do this alone.
We need YOUR help!
We ask that you join with us to let your voices be heard about the importance of services you receive and what the impact would be if you were to lose them. There will be numerous opportunities for you to contact legislators regarding various bills and funding decisions that they will be voting on.
An excellent way for you to stay current with everything that is going on during the session and find out when to contact legislators on key issues is to join the Montana Independent Living Action Alert E-Mail Listserv.
To join the action alert e-mail listserv simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Travis Hoffman at Summit Independent Living Center and ask to be added to the listserv.
You can also follow action alert on Twitter by following @mtilactnalrt or by going to http://www.summitilc.org and clicking the Action Alert Listserv link at the top of the page.
Independent Living Legislative Priorities
• Community First Choice Option
• Montana Youth Transitions Project Funding
• Provider Rates for Human Service Agencies
• Health Care for Health Care Workers
• Reinstate Personal Assistance Services Lost through
• Ensure the Mail Balloting Bill Provides for
Adequate Accessibility Options
• Maintain & Increase Access to Medicaid Waiver Services
and Other Services Individuals with Disabilities Rely On