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Boston:  Governor Deval Patrick signed three disability bills into law on August 5th and 6th, which:  

  • increased access to services for individuals with autism and related disabilities
  • expanded choices and options in obtaining services and,
  • furthered the safety of those receiving services. 


A public signing ceremony is expected by the first week of September. Together, the bills reflect a major milestone in the evolution of service delivery in Massachusetts.  You can find the bills by clicking on the link here and going to the module – Governor Signs Three Key Disability Bills.  See our previous headline for a full report.


Posted in: Budget, News

As the legislative session ends tonight at midnight we have 3 high priority bills that we hope will pass:
1.  Autism omnibus - includes DD eligibility and MassHealth autism services among other important features.
Status: amendments adopted in both branches last night -passed by House and at Senate today for enactment.
2.  Real Lives - places in statute DDS self- determination practices which allow for person-centered use of public funds.
Status: Amended bill passed Senate last night – is waiting in House for passage and return to Senate for final enactment.
3.  National Background Check bill - Mass. presently only checks Mass criminal background records for direct support staff  - builds on same process for teachers passed in 2012
Status:  passed House last night; waiting on Senate passage.

Posted in: News

You are welcome to attend the Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Disability Issues.  Confirmed speakers include: * Evan Falchuk * Don Berwick * Jeff McCormick * Mark Fisher * * Charles Baker * Steve Grossman * Martha Coakley *  It will be held on Thursday, June 26, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm.  The location is Dwight Hall at Perkins School for the Blind located on 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA 02472.  Directions are here.

Posted in: News

On November 6, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold its first hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  We are lagging behind other nations who have already approved the treaty.  Go here for more information.

Posted in: News
A Task Force has been convened to collect input on College Inclusion for Students with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD.)  It is hosted by the Joint Committee on Higher Education and Chair Tom Sannicandro.   
Task Force.  The Task Force will hold hearings at four colleges in Massachusetts, to listen to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and professors, about expanding access to higher education for students with Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities.
See the flyer here for more details. This Friday, Nov.1, 10:30-12:30, it convenes at Bridgewater State College in Burnell 132A. Other dates are November 8, 15 and 22.  See the flyer.
Posted in: News

A group of educators and lawyers have been meeting at MAC to assist the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines for the education of transition specialists. Pat Pakos represented The Arc during these meetings. They recently completed their work.  The legislature had passed a law for an endorsement of specialists in March 2012.   At present, UMASS Boston offers an endorsement and/or Master’s in Transition. Lesley University is due to offer a program in January and Simmons, Fitchburg, and UMASS Amherst all are exploring the possibility of offers similar programs.  You can see the guidelines here.

Posted in: News

The month of September will be a busy month for bills recommended by the Mass. Commission on Autism beginning this coming Tuesday, September 10 with the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.  The hearings of the Committee on Education and the Committee on Public Bonding will have relevant bills reviewed too.  You can learn more by going here and reading the alert by Barbara L’Italien.


Two other bills supported by The Arc will also be heard next week.  The Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development will hear Rep. O’Day’s House 136 on September 10 in the morning in Room B-1.  The bill will require the state to develop standards in regard to hiring qualified applicants with disabilities for any business which contracts with the Commonwealth.  The Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development will hear Sen. Barrett’s bill designating Rex Trailer as the “official cowboy” of the Commonwealth in A-2 also on Tuesday at 11 am.



Posted in: News

Last week we lost Charlotte Aladjem, who was one of The Arc's leaders at a time when disability supports in the community was a dream. A former President of The Arc of Massachusetts as well as chair of the national public policy committee, Charlotte's dignified manner and articulate presentation significantly advanced our cause.  Read more here.

Posted in: News

Notes from The Arc is out!  See stories on the new employment initiative, Affordable housing and the first elected councilor in Spain with Down syndrome and more here!


Posted in: News

Go here to read the new update on the employment initiative at the Department of Developmental Services.

Posted in: News
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