Families, healthcare providers and supporters marched to the State Capitol Thursday to highlight the lack of state funding for California’s most vulnerable and voiceless population, those with developmental disabilities.
“Increased access to care should be a budget priority,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). “Nearly 50 years ago, the state made a promise through the Lanterman Act that children and adults with developmental disabilities would be cared for.”
“This promise should be kept,” Senator Nielsen added.
In July, Governor Brown called for a Special Session of the Legislature to address health care. In response, Senator Nielsen along with Senator Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta), introduced a legislative proposal to help the developmental services community achieve additional funding.
Specifically, their measure, Senate Bill X2-4, would provide the Department of Developmental Services with the means to fund targeted rate increases for regional centers and providers through any General Fund surplus revenues. It would also pay the same for Medi-Cal providers through funding from the Department of Health Care Services with these increases being made retroactive to July 1, 2015.
The Legislature denied a public hearing for SBX2-4, preventing it from being debated. This roadblock deprived funding for the developmental services community.
Providers have endured a decade of rate cuts and freezes.
The state is projected to receive an additional $3.6 billion in unanticipated tax revenue according to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst.
Senator Nielsen and his colleagues continue their push in support of funding for the developmental disability community.
“State revenues are strong. Helping Californians with developmental disabilities must be the first item discussed in this year’s budget before anything else,” said Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).
Michael Ziegler, PRIDE Industries President/CEO said, "We appreciate the leadership of Senators Nielsen and Stone in championing critical funding for services supporting individuals with intellectual and development disabilities.
“We support any initiative that can restore and ensure community-based programs that serve our most vulnerable citizens."
# # #
PRIDE Industries is a nonprofit organization and leading employer of people with disabilities. Meeting the manufacturing and facilities services needs of business and government agencies nationwide, PRIDE creates jobs for people with disabilities in its own businesses and by partnering with others in the community.