October 9, 2020: The Capitol Connector View in browser

October 9, 2020

In This Issue:

  • From Our CEO - 70 years of The Arc 
  • Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • Updates from Washington D.C.
  • Mark Your Calendars 
  • Noteworthy News & Resources
From Our CEO - 70 Years of The Arc

The first national convention of The Arc US was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 30, 1950. Parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) came together from across the country to start a movement and promote better lives for their children.

At the time, our country was deep in the throes of institutionalization. Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities lived apart from their families, loved ones, and communities in large, over-crowded state hospitals. In the state hospitals, people with IDD were separated from the rest of society. Out of the public’s eye, they lived in horrific conditions. They experienced abuse, seclusion, neglect, and forced sterilization. Some were even murdered.

In 1950, parents wanted a different life for their children. They called on society to take action. They came together and asked for everyone – especially those outside of the disability services system – to understand the humanity in their children.

Over the past 70 years we have come so far. Today, people with disabilities are living in the community. They are going to school with their peers and attending post-secondary education. They are working, living in homes of their own, falling in love, getting married, and starting families.

We know people with IDD can and do live how they choose. They want to be known. They want belonging. They want justice and liberation.

At The Arc Minnesota’s 2020 Gala, we had a magical evening where nearly 800 people pledged to work alongside people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to launch a movement.

In this movement, we will relentlessly highlight the strength, wisdom, and capacity that people with disabilities have and promote a just society where everyone is known to be valuable and have worth. Together, we will demonstrate the strength and capacity of people with IDD, transform our collective thinking, and co-create a bright future for people with disabilities in Minnesota.

Now is the time to build a world where people with IDD have belonging and justice. We ask that you take this pledge and commit to supporting The Arc Minnesota as we continue working to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual & developmental disabilities.

Here’s to the next 70 years!

Take the pledge to commit to The Movement
Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This October, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month! People with IDD can be employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages. They should be supported to make informed choices about their careers and have the resources to seek, obtain, and be successful in community employment.

Our partners at the Metro Regional Quality Council (MRQC) have been promoting empowered employment of people with disabilities through their social media campaign, “We Work!”. This campaign educates the public and employers about the benefits of employing people with disabilities. It also highlights people with disabilities who have found jobs they love.

Check out this “We Work!” video of Katie McDermott - The Arc Minnesota’s Advocate Associate! Katie talks about her dream job and why she is passionate about empowered employment for people with disabilities.

Also check out this video of Eric Marschel! Erik testified about his journey with competitive, integrated employment in the House Health & Human Services Policy Committee last session. His testimony begins at 6 minutes and 25 seconds (6:25).

Katie and Eric show us how much value people with disabilities bring to the workforce, and how successful they can be in the right job. We know that we need to keep fighting for systems and social change to make sure that more Minnesotans with disabilities can build careers they love.

This report from the MRQC looks at some of the common barriers and challenges for people with disabilities. The report outlines best practices and creative solutions that support people with disabilities in all areas of employment. It also includes recommendations to state agencies, businesses, organizations, and individuals. 

With questions or for more information about the “We Work!” social media campaign and the MRQC report, contact Project Manager Angie Guenther at angieguenther@arcminnesota.org.

Updates from Washington, D.C.

House Passes $2.2 Trillion COVID Relief Bill

The House of Representatives passed Heroes 2.0. This is a compromise piece of COVID-19 relief legislation. They passed it late last week by a narrow margin 214-207. The legislation included many of The Arc's top priorities. This includes dedicated funding for Medicaid HCBS, a general FMAP increase, removal of barriers for stimulus payments, and paid leave provisions that include all types of family caregivers. The path in the Senate is unclear.

We urge you to continue contacting your Senators here. Ask them to support Heroes 2.0.

Short Term FY 21 Funding Bill Enacted

On September 30, the Senate passed and the President signed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. The measure, H.R. 8319, provides funding for most programs from October 1 through December 11. The vast majority of agencies and programs are level funded and several other provisions are included in the measure. These include extensions of the Medicaid Money Follows the Person program and Spousal Impoverishment Protections program. The measure also includes $1.5 billion to conduct the 2020 Census.

COVID-Related IDEA Funding Bill Introduced

On October 2, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the Supporting Children With Disabilities During COVID Act (H.R. 8523). This bill provides an additional $12 billion in Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding. This includes $11 billion in state grants, $900 million for preschool and early intervention, and $300 million for personnel development. It also provides $55 million for Assistive Technology Act programs. The Arc supports this bill.

Representatives Introduce Bill Prohibiting Corporal Punishment in Schools

On September 30, Representatives Don McEachin (D-VA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the Protect Our Students in Schools Act (H.R. 8460). This bill prohibits corporal punishment in any school receiving federal funding. It also provides for enforcement and establishes a grant program for developing interventions such as positive behavioral interventions and supports, implicit bias training, and trauma-informed care. The Arc supports this bill.

Volunteer Caregiver Bill Introduced

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Care Corps Demonstration Act (S. 4682 / H.R. 8511) on September 24. This bill would establish a five-year pilot program through which qualified volunteers provide care, companionship, and other services to seniors and individuals with disabilities. Volunteers would receive health insurance and other benefits as well as money to pay for education or student loans. The Arc supports this bill.

Mark Your Calendars

Pandemic Response: Education Advocacy During COVID-19

Thursday, October 15 | 10:30am - 12:00noon | Register at https://bit.ly/3iM2oH9

Earlier this year, we partnered with other advocacy organizations to host “Pandemic Planning: Hopes & Fears for Returning to School”. The forum highlighted personal experiences and concerns of students with disabilities and their family members heading into the 2020-2021 school year.

On Thursday, October 15, we are hosting a follow-up event. This event will:

  • update students with disabilities, their parents and family members about advocacy organizations’ work to respond to ongoing issues/challenges/barriers since the school year began;
  • offer a training about administrative and legal options in navigating these barriers; and
  • present an “action alert” to support our policy advocacy work.

Caption services will be provided. Registration is required.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebration

Monday, October 26 | 1:00pm | Register at https://bit.ly/3lvnoDH
The ADA 30th Anniversary planning committee is having a free, virtual event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ADA and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This 90-minute, online event will feature informative presentations, artistic performances, and more.

ASL and CART services will be provided for this event. Portions will be audio described. To request accommodations, contact linda.gremillion@state.mn.us by Monday, October 19, 2020.

Event updates will be posted on the ADA 30 MN website and Facebook page at facebook.com/ada30mn.

Noteworthy News & Resources

From the Minnesota Department of Human Services

Disability services provider public health grants

From Move MN

Accessible Transportation Q&A with Ken Rodgers and Finn McGarrity – Part 1

From MPR News

Election 2020: Voter Guides

Fewer people may vote by mail than expected. That could mean Election Day 'chaos'

2nd District candidates campaign on two tracks

From Disability Scoop

Eligible Voters With Disabilities Increase By Nearly 20%

From the American Association of Persons with Disabilities

COVID-19 and the Disability Vote

From the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights

Guidance on COVID-19

Thank you to our sponsor Mains'l for their support of our public policy work


Join The Arc’s Disability Policy Networking Group to stay engaged on policy issues by requesting membership here. 

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The Arc Minnesota

2446 University Ave. W. Suite 110, St. Paul
Minnesota 55114-1740 United States

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