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Senator Warren visited members of the Disability Community hosted by ADDP in its Framingham offices.  Senator Karen Spilka, Reps. Tom Sannnicandro and Chris Walsh accompanied her.  She spent an hour with a mix of staff, self-advocates and family members.   The group was pleased to hear Sen. Warren state that she understood our concerns as someone who began her career as a special education teacher.  She also announced that her second committee assignment is the HELP committee- which handles health, education and labor and pensions, which is a key committee for The Arc and anyone concerned with disability issues. Sen. Ted Kennedy had served as chair of HELP.

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Great Legislative session yesterday honoring Sen. Spilka and Rep. Bradley.  See more photos on this page! Over 300 attended along with Gov. Patrick, Speaker DeLeo and Majority Leader Rosenberg.  Hosted by The Arc Mass and Mass Developmental Disabilities Council.

The Arc's Frank Sally, Sen. Rosenberg, Sen. Spilka, Sean Cusack.            

Sen. Spilka w/Frank Sally, Sen. Rosenberg and artist Sean Cusack; Photo 2- Rep. Bradley with Speaker DeLeo, Julie Fitzpatrick and Sean Cusack.

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Please join us for a reflective celebration of the life and career of Boston's Legendary Children's TV star and longtime Emerson faculty member.

Rex also was the first to include children with disabilities in his live audience. He was a trailblazer, bringing attention to disabilities through a 1961 wagon train which was covered daily by WBZ-TV.  Leo Sarkissian will be one of the speakers. It will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. RSVP here.

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On February 1, the legislature closed co-sponsor registration for bills. Over 300 messages were sent directly from The Arc action center while others responded by telephoning their legislators or emailing directly.  Seven bills were highlighted during the week. The bills include better protections through the national background check, increasing self-direction of services through Real Lives (which closed out with 114 co-sponsors according to Rep. Tom Sannicandro), expanding access through two eligiblity bills (out of the autism commission) and two bills on Transition including Bridges and Passage to Independence.  See our present bills list here.

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The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound effect on the growth of disability rights advocacy. 

Dr. King’s stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Despite progress for people with disabilities, we still face barriers to a good life in the community. We join with others in honoring his memory. Visit the King Center here.

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The Arc of Massachusetts expresses its sympathy to the family of Rex Trailer on his passing today. Rex was a strong advocate for children with disabilities. His TV show was the first in New England and possibly the nation, which included children with intellectual disabilities in his live audience while taping.   While Rex made the decision to include children with disabilities in the late 1950s and early 1960s, educators at all levels  were still keeping school doors closed to the same children. Read more here.
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Do you or your loved receive Medicare AND Medicaid benefits?  If so you should know all about the changes coming up in a few months.  Training for families, individuals or staff will take place at 5:30 pm on January 17 and February 7.  See locations here

More information regarding the change can be read here.

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Starting next year in Massachusetts, approximately 110,000 who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid between age 21-64 years, will be included in a demonstration which will combine health care services and long-term supports and services (LTSS) into integrated care organizations (ICO). Individuals will be able to opt out if they want to remain with the present fee-for-service system. The goal of the demonstration is to lower the rising costs of Medicaid and Medicare while improving health outcomes by coordinating care for this population.
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The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns participated in a small meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior economic advisors about the President’s goal to stop middle class tax increases and to raise revenues to help invest in the nation and reduce the deficit. The discussion centered on the urgency of passing a plan to avert raising taxes on the middle class and to raise revenues to finance the federal government without allowing drastic cuts to programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and other vulnerable groups rely on, like education, housing and employment. Read more about the meeting here

Read about fiscal issue and impact on disability services here.      

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On November 15, DDS held hearings on emergency eligibility regulations promulgated in late September.  Attendance at the hearing totaled more than 70 people. 


DDS has taken several positive steps toward revising its regulations both in September and in recent weeks.  All advocacy groups were allied in requesting DDS take a final step by removing language in its regulations that appear to give psychologists the power to ignore “standard error of measurement” or SEM in determining testing results and ensuring that the national AAIDD definition be accepted as the chief authority at DDS. 

Read more here.


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