July is Disability Pride Month.
On July 26, 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That same year, Boston held the first ever disability pride event and this month of celebration, recognition, and honoring was born.
For me – thanks to advocates like Joannah Whitney in our district and the Arc of Massachusetts – it’s been a moment for me to once again grapple with the ways in which state policies and budget priorities can and should reflect the full measure of awareness, rights, respect, and care for community members across a diverse continuum.
And I need your help.
Next session, I’ll be filing new legislation and like the two sessions before, I’ll rely on YOUR ideas to help drive my commitment to disability rights.
Here are some of the bills I’ve filed – and am fighting for – this session:
S.295, An Act establishing a Special Education Funding Reform Commission – sets up a Commission to review the Commonwealth’s system for funding special education and make recommendations for a more equitable system that will provide adequate funding to local school districts to meet the costs of providing high quality education to students with disabilities.
S.748, An Act supporting equal access to community care for elders and the disabled – allows eligible seniors and people with disabilities to receive MassHealth home and community-based care even if their income is over the program income limit, if they pay a premium equal to their income above the limit.
S.2285, An Act Facilitating Better Interactions Between Police Officers and Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder – provides for a state-approved blue envelope to be used voluntarily by people with autism spectrum disorder while driving. The envelope will hold a license and drivers registration information, with best practices written on the exterior of the envelope for police officers when interacting with people with autism spectrum disorder.
S.89, An Act allowing spouses to serve as caregivers – directs MassHealth to recognize and compensate a spouse as a caregiver for MassHealth members with disabilities if requested by the patient, just as other family relatives are permitted to serve as caregivers.
S.749, An Act protecting the homes of seniors and disabled people on MassHealth – limits the estate recovery program, which requires repayment after death from the estates of low-income or people with disabilities who received MassHealth health care services after age 55.