Moving Forward is a weekly legislative newsletter published by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) during the General Assembly. As the State’s leader in advancing public policy on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, GCDD produces Moving Forward as a guide to legislation throughout the session and to keep developmental disability advocates up-to-date on the progress being made. For past editions of the newsletter, click on the “Archived Moving Forward Newsletter” at the bottom of the page.

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 7

Welcome to a special Disability Day Edition of Moving Forward. More than 2,500 advocates, family members, and allies gathered at the Capitol steps on a beautiful, warm day to hear speakers Governor Nathan Deal, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, CEO & President of RespectAbilityUSA, and Greg Schmieg, the Executive Director of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) . This issue high-lights Governor Deal's remarks and his Proclamation of Disability Awareness Day. In other news at the Gold Dome: SB 397, a bill for autism insurance coverage, sponsored by Senator Tim Golden, was dropped in the Senate Hopper on February 19, passed by the Senate on February 25, and read in the House on February 26. This bill puts a cap on coverage at $35,000 per year and limits coverage to children age 6 and under. Also, HB 700, sponsored by Rep. Keisha Waites, which seeks to in-crease accessibility for those with visual disabilities at the Capitol and CLOB, passed out of the House committee on February 24. The House and Senate resolved any differences in the FY2014 Amended Budget and it was signed by the Governor on February 26. The FY 2015 budget is still being worked on in the Senate subcommittees. Get involved: (1) If you are not already a member of the GCDD advocacy network, we invite you to join and receive information as we work together to create a better place for Georgians with disabilities. Go to www.gcdd.org and click on Join our Advocacy Network and follow the instructions. (2) Join our weekly legislative update calls on Monday morning at 9:15 AM. Dial 1-888-355-1249 and enter passcode 232357 at the prompt. (3) Go to www.unlockthewaitinglists.com to get the latest Unlock...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 6

Once again, the Governor declared a state of emergency due to more winter weather. The General Assembly adjourned for the week on Tuesday early but not before they set the legislative calendar for the remainder of the session(see details below). The House Appropriations Committee passed the FY2015 budget out of committee on February 11. We anticipate it will go to the full House for a vote early next week. In this issue, the changes to the Governor's recommended budget that House Appropriations made are highlighted. On February 7, the Senate passed the Amended FY2014 budget. Mark your calendar- Disability Day is almost here! On Thursday, February 20, please join GCDD for a day of connection and advocacy at the state Capitol building. The theme this year is "We All Have a Story...What's Yours?" and also will feature an Olmstead 15th anniversary celebration. Scheduled speakers include Governor Nathan Deal and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, CEO & President of...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 5

Today, February 7 marks the 19th legislative day of the session. On Monday of this week, the House Human Relations and Aging Committee met and voted on HB 290, the Family Care Act. This bill passed out of committee by a 6-2 vote. Be sure to contact your House member to let them know how you want them to vote on HB 290. In this issue, we will focus on the Governor's proposed budget for the Department of Education. Please see details below. You can view the budget yourself at http://opb.georgia.gov. On Wednesday, February 5, HB 743, the Amended FY2014 budget, was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and then was read the second time in the Senate on Thursday, February 6. The FY 2015 budget hearings began this week. We anticipate that the FY 2015 budget will go to the full House for a vote toward the end of next...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 4

On Monday of this week, the House Human Relations and Aging Committee met and heard testimony about HB 290, the Family Care Act. This committee is scheduled to vote on this bill on Monday, February 3 at 1:30 PM. Now is the time to contact members of this committee to let them know how you want them to vote on HB 290. In this issue, we will focus on the Governor's proposed budget for the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services. Please see details below. You can view the budget yourself...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 3

In observance of Martin Luther King Remembrance Day, the General Assembly was in recess. Committee hearings continued on the FY14’ budget this week. In this issue, we will focus on the Governor's proposed budget for the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, DBHDD, and the proposed budget relating to the Department of Justice settlement agreement. Please see details below. If you'd like to follow the FY 2014 Amended Budget and the FY 2015 Budget through the General Assembly, the budget bills are filed as HB 743 through HB 748. You can view the budget yourself...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 2

Welcome to the 2014 Legislative Session! The second year of the General Assembly began Monday, January 13. The Governor delivered the State of the State Address January 15 at 11 a.m. before a Joint Session. In the State of the State, Governor Deal emphasized education, workforce development, and lean government. He also reiterated his intention not to expand Medicaid in Georgia. For the full text of his speech, please go...

Moving Forward: Vol. 19, Issue 1

Happy New Year! This is the first issue of Moving Forward for the 2014 Legislative Session. In this issue, we review the leadership changes in the House and Senate, some budget items of interest to the disability community, and give an overview of legislative terminology and effective advocacy. The first day of the 2014 Legislative Session will be Monday, January 13. We anxiously await the release of the Governor’s budget, expected January 15. This is the first year since the recession hit that state agencies were not asked to reduce their budgets. However, even if there are no further agency budget cuts this year, there have been several years of budget reductions making it challenging to effectively use those resources to meet the current need. We congratulate Ms. D’Arcy Robb, the Public Policy Director for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, on the birth of her baby girl in December. She is currently on maternity leave but will be back. We also welcome Ms. Dawn Alford as the new Planning and Policy Development Specialist for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Please extend a warm welcome to her. Get involved: (1) If you are not already a member of the GCDD advocacy network, we invite you to join and receive information as we work together to create a better place for Georgians with disabilities. Go to www.gcdd.org and click on “Join ourAdvocacy Network” and follow the instructions. (2) Register for Disability Day...

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