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AuSM Advocacy Update Oct. 19, 2018

advocacylogowebSince March of 2018, Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) board and staff have been working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to propose a structure for an autism council that can be a fair, appropriate, representative resource for legislators and administrators in their efforts to improve the lives of people with autism and their families. AuSM shares a vision for a council that can be inclusive, well-informed, cooperative, and productive. We are deeply supportive of the efforts made by the diverse working committee thus far to make this vision a reality.

Due to unexpected changes in the proposed structure of the group, Jean Bender, AuSM Board of Directors President and Advocacy Committee Chair, has been appointed as a part of a central leadership team of the proposed Minnesota Autism Council. In any role, AuSM priorities will not change. Whatever next steps face the group, AuSM will remain committed, as always, to advocacy for the inclusion of diverse and informed voices at all levels: voices of adults and families with autism, voices of those from underrepresented groups, voices of those who share our commitment to a strong, collaborative, supportive autism community.

AuSM is aware that members of the working committee and the community have voiced concerns about these developments. AuSM takes these concerns seriously, and we encourage all interested community members and representatives to share any ideas with Senator Abeler, and to share with the Autism Society of Minnesota, so that we may be able to continue to fulfill our role as an ally and advocate for the broad and complex Minnesota autism community.

2018 AuSM Tuesday at the Capitol held on April 17, 2018

DisabilityDay2018WEBAuSM supporters and other members of Minnesota’s autism and disability community are encouraged to attend Tuesday at the Capitol, hosted by AuSM, on Tuesday, April 17 from 9:30-11 a.m. Held during Autism Awareness Month, AuSM’s Tuesday at the Capitol will focus on the critical last phase of the legislative session. Learn about the legislation that impacts our community; plan in advance for a visit with your legislators after the meeting (AuSM can help with this!); and build relationships with community members and lawmakers. Cost: FREE, but registration is encouraged. Click here to register.

June 27 Action Alert: Help Save Medicaid

advocacylogowebDo you know someone who lives in Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, or Nevada? Ask them to call their Senator today and HELP SAVE MEDICAID.

In the next few days the U.S. Senate will be be voting on the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make significant cuts and caps to the Medicaid program.

This drastic reduction in funding would force states to cut services to children with disabilities. In Minnesota more than 200,000 children and adults with disabilities receive Medicaid assistance. Additionally, Minnesota schools annually receive approximately $45 million in Medicaid reimbursements for health-related services for students with disabilities, such as occupational, physical, and speech therapy. If this bill becomes law, the important services and programs that Medicaid funds to support children with disabilities at home, school, and in the community will be at risk.

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May 17 Action Alert: Improve the HHS Spending and Policy Bill

Contact legislative leaders now to have an impact on health and human services funding and policy before the Legislature adjourns.

We are appreciative of Governor Dayton's recent veto of SF 800, a bill that would have reduced funding for disability services by millions of dollars and would have caused significant challenges to Minnesotans living with disabilities. This detrimental bill was passed by the legislature, despite a projected budget surplus of more than $1.6 million.

House and Senate leaders and the governor now are negotiating on a new bill, which must be completed before the legislature officially adjourns Monday, May 22. Given that tight timeline, there could be agreement among state officials at any time on a new bill, and the Health and Human Services Conference Committees could have little time to debate and pass that bill.

Your advocacy can help restore some of the budget cuts that were in the vetoed bill, along with several important benefits that include: new employment services, a 25 percent reduction in TEFRA parental fees, an expansion of consumer-directed community supports, and increased housing.

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May 4 Action Alert: Health and Human Services Funding Cuts

The Minnesota legislature is a proposing a $505 million reduction to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) budget for the coming year. A reduction in funding would be devastating to programs for people with disabilities and seniors. However, the final budget has not yet been finalized, and there is time to prevent these reductions.

Organizations including AuSM are on record opposing these cuts, and we have worked diligently to let legislators know how they will hurt the most vulnerable people in our state. But to really make an impact, the legislators need to hear from YOU.

If you oppose these drastic cuts, here are some things you can do:

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