Action Alert: Transformation To Competitive Emplolyment Act

ACTION ALERT in bold white letters on a dark red background

This Action Alert comes from the Center for Public Representation, via the New York Association on Independent Living(NYAIL) ...

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#WorkWithUs by joining the July 9th national call-in day to support the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act

Tell your members of Congress to support competitive integrated employment and end the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities by supporting the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (TCEA). The TCEA H.R. 873 in the House and S. 260 in the Senate) is a bi-partisan bill that will expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment – community jobs where people with disabilities work alongside co-workers without disabilities and are paid the same wages – and phase out the outdated and discriminatory payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities currently allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The TCEA will address barriers to employment for people with disabilities by providing $300 million in capacity-building grants and technical assistance to expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment while phasing out subminimum wages over six years. The bill will help states and 14(c) certificate holders (businesses that pay workers with disabilities subminimum wages) transform their business models to more integrated and innovative approaches to disability employment.

Ask your members of Congress to support and co-sponsor the TCEA during the national call-in day on Tuesday, July 9th. Please visit the TCEA National Call-In Day Facebook Event or this page to learn more about the TCEA.

#WorkWithUs to get Congress to expand opportunities for competitive integrated employment and end subminimum wages!

How to Reach Your Members of Congress:

1 Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091(tty) and ask to be connected to your Representatives and Senators.

2 Repeat. You can use this easy tool to find your members of Congress.

Easy Call Script:

Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a resident of [Town, State].

I am your constituent. Please support and co-sponsor the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (H.R. 873/S. 260). This bill will help address barriers to employment of people with disabilities. It provides funding and technical assistance to states and providers to expand capacity for competitive integrated employment while carefully phasing out over six years the ability of businesses to pay people with disabilities below the minimum wage – often pennies on the dollar — under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The bill will help businesses using 14(c) certificates transform into competitive, integrated workplaces where people with disabilities work alongside people without disabilities and get paid equal pay for equal work. Just like everyone else, people with disabilities want to work, live independently and be self-sufficient. Support and co-sponsor the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities!

Thank you for taking my call!

[IF YOU ARE LEAVING A VOICEMAIL:

Please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied]

[OPTIONAL ADD ON]

Personal stories are the most effective form of advocacy. Talk about why the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act is important for you or someone you know and love.

Clinton County Transportation Meetings

Illustration of a transit bus

The following is a notice from the Clinton County Planning Department about upcoming public meetings and hearings on proposed changes in Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT):

Thursday, June 27, 1-3 PM
Public Information Meeting
First floor meeting room, Room 103, Clinton County Government Center
137 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh

Wednesday, July 10, 7 PM
Clinton County Legislature Public Hearing
Legislative Meeting Room, Clinton County Government Center
137 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh

Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT) is considering bus route changes for implementation on August 12th, 2019. The proposed changes include elimination of the West End bus route and elimination of the 8:53 pm run of the CCC Seasonal bus route, among other changes.

CCPT will be hosting a public information meeting on Thursday June 27th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the first floor meeting room, Room 103, of the Clinton County Government Center; 137 Margaret Street; Plattsburgh, NY 12901 to discuss the proposed service changes and receive public input. This meeting is open to the public and all are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate.

Those who are unable to attend in person but would like to attend by way of conference call can call 1-712-451-0011 and use access code: 853408

If you cannot attend this meeting but you would like to give input, provide written comments, or ask questions; please contact:

James Bosley, Planning Technician
Clinton County Planning Department
135 Margaret Street Suite 124
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
518-565-4713
james.bosley@clintoncountygov.com

In addition to this public meeting, there will be a public hearing at the session of the Clinton County Legislature when bus route changes are voted on. It is anticipated that the bus route changes being proposed will go before the Clinton County Legislature at their 7:00 pm session on Wednesday July 10th and the public hearing will be at the beginning of that meeting.

Clinton County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, special accommodations, within reason and upon request at least forty-eight hours in advance of the public meeting, will be provided to persons with disabilities. Please contact James Bosley, Planning Technician, at 518-565-4713 or by email at James.Bosley@clintoncountygov.com to request a special accommodation for the meeting.

For anyone who would like travel training to better understand the CCPT routes/services and how to use them, please contact James Bosley (contact information is above) and arrangements will be made for travel training.

Action Alert: Act Now to Save CDPA

Action Alert in bold white letters on a dark red background

The following Action Alert comes from the New York Association on Independent Living:

We all know by now that The Governor’s proposed budget makes drastic changes to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) program that will put the whole program at risk! Thankfully, the legislature heard you, and they both rejected the Governor’s proposal in their one-house budget responses. This is huge, as it brings us closer to keeping the Governor’s incredibly harmful proposal out of the final budget!

The Budget Conference Health Subcommittee is now meeting. They will be making tough decisions over the next week or two about what they can afford to support. Anything can happen over the next week or two, so it is essential that the members of this committee hear from you!

Action:

Contact the members of the Senate and Assembly Health Subcommittee! Thank them for their support in their budget response, and urge them to stay strong throughout final budget negotiations in their support to save CDPA!

Assembly Health Subcommittee:

* Assembly Member Gottfried 518-455-4941 or email GottfriedR@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Cahill 518-455-4436 or cahillk@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Bronson 518-455-4527 or bronsonh@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Davila 518-455-5537 or DavilaM@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Fernandez 518-455-5844 or fernandezn@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Barnwell 518-455-4755 or BarnwellB@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Raia 518-455-5952 or raiaa@nyassembly.gov
* Assembly Member Byrne 518-455-5783 or byrnek@nyassembly.gov

Senate Health Subcommittee

* Senator Rivera 518-455-3395 or grivera@nysenate.gov
* Senator Salazar 518-455-2177 or salazar@nysenate.gov
* Senator Carlucci 518-455-2991 or carlucci@nysenate.gov
* Senator Montgomery 518-455-3451 or montgome@nysenate.gov
* Senator Thomas 518-455-3260 or thomas@nysenate.gov
* Senator Gallivan 518-455-3471 or gallivan@nysenate.gov
* Senator Jacobs 518-455-3240 or jacobs@nysenate.gov

You can also contact our North Country Legislators and ask them to support the Senate and Assembly provisions on Consumer Directed Personal Assistance, (CDPA)

* Assembly Member Billy Jones 518-562-1986 or jones@nyassembly.gov
* Senator Betty Little 518 561-2430 or little@nysenate.gov

Help ensure Independent Living Centers receive a crucial funding increase of only $5 million in this year’s budget!

Action Alert in bold white letters on dark red background

We all know how crucial Independent Living Centers are in communities across the State. They provide a wide array of supports and services that help people be independent and integrated in their communities. ILCs rely on the State for funding to provide these vital services, but the State has failed to adequately fund centers for well over a decade, leaving centers struggling to continue providing core IL services.

Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget once again failed to give centers the additional funding they need to meet the needs of their communities. But it isn’t too late to get an increase in this year’s budget!

The next step is the legislature. The Senate and Assembly will release their one house budget responses in a few weeks. There was a budget sign on letters in support of an increase in funding for Independent Living Centers in the Assembly with strong support.  Now we need to make sure the members of the Senate and Assembly’s Education Committees hear from their colleagues about the importance of ensuring their one house budgets include a funding increase of $5 million for ILCs!

ACTION: Send a message to your Senator and Assembly member urging them to speak to the members of the lower Education Committees in support of an increase of only $5 million for Independent Living Centers being included in their one house budget response!

Take Action!

Action Alert: Act Now To #SaveCDPA

ACTION ALERT in white bold letters on dark red background

This action alert comes from the New York Association on Independent Living:

The Governor’s proposed budget makes drastic changes to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) program that will put the whole program at risk! This proposal, if enacted, would significantly reduce the number of Fiscal Intermediaries (FIs) in the State. FIs provide necessary assistance to ensure CDPA consumers are successful and maintain their independence in the community through training, ongoing support, payroll and other administrative assistance.

Even more alarmingly, the State is planning to cut the reimbursements to FIs so drastically that it would immediately put most of the FIs, including all of the Independent Living Centers who are FIs, out of business immediately. The Governor believes that all FIs do is process payroll, which demonstrates a lack of understanding of CDPA. Such radical and ill-informed changes to CDPA puts the entire program at risk and threatens existing consumers.

Last week, NYAIL and CDPAANYS had a successful Budget Advocacy Day where hundreds of Independent Living advocates, FIs, and CDPA consumers came to Albany to fight this proposal. The legislators heard our concerns. However, they need to keep hearing from us! The Senate and Assembly will be putting out their one house budget proposals in a few weeks, and it is very important that those budget proposals successfully get rid of this very harmful proposal and that puts the whole CDPA program at risk!

*Action:*Follow the "Take Action" link to send a letter https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/qrrkqpix61j1NuDCDamt1A to your legislators urging them to #SaveCDPA in their one house budget proposals!

Take Action! https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/qrrkqpix61j1NuDCDamt1A

For information on our CDPA program, click here to visit the NCCI website.

Action Alert: Act Now to Ensure All Voting Reforms Are Accessible To People With Disabilities!

Action Alert in large white letters on a dark red background

This Action Alert was posted today by the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) ...

The legislature is planning to take up a package of voting reforms on Monday. Among the package of bills is A.780/S.1102, which would implement early voting in New York State. NYAIL strongly supports making it easier to vote by enacting voting reforms like early voting and same day and automatic voter registration, but it is critical that accessibility is prioritized in all of these proposed policies!

As written, the current bill does not ensure full accessibility to voters with disabilities during early voting. It does not require that a ballot marking device be available during early voting. In other states that already have early voting, ballot marking devices have not always been available. It is critical that the state ensure they are available in New York! Other states have not always included BMDs during early voting. This is unacceptable!

Call the Election Law Chairs and the heads of the State Senate and Assembly today and urge them to ensure full accessibility during early voting when they take up A.780/S.1102 on Monday!

Action: CALL TODAY!

  • Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins - 518-455-2585
  • Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie - 518-455-3791
  • Assembly Election Law Chair, Charles Lavine - 518-455-5456
  • Senate Election Law Chair, Zellnor Myrie - 518-455-2431

Say:

"I strongly support making it easier for everyone to vote by implementing early voting, automatic voter registration and same day voter registration, as long as accessibility for voters with disabilities is prioritized in all voting reforms. A.780/S.1102 does not do this. The bill does not mandate a ballot marking device, which allows people to vote privately and independently, be available during early voting. Whenever and wherever elections are held and in whatever format, the State and localities must make all voting accessible to all voters with disabilities, and having a ballot marking device at all polling locations during early voting is an essential part of full accessibility."

Action Alert: Support Money Follows the Person!

Action Alert

The Money Follows The Person program, (MFP), is about halfway to being renewed. The House passed it this week. Now it moves to the Senate, and we need people to call their Senators and ask them to support it. You can use this Action Alert from the American Association of People with Disabilities, (AAPD), by clicking this link.

From the Action Alert:

“MFP helps people with disabilities and older adults who want to move out of nursing homes or other institutions get back into their communities. MFP has assisted more than 88,000 individuals voluntarily move into a setting of their choice – it has improved the lives of older adults and people with disabilities, saved states money, and led to better outcomes. That’s why nearly every state has participated in the program. However, MFP expired September 30, 2016 and states are running out of funding. People with disabilities deserve the right to live in the community, rather than spending their lives segregated into institutions.”

Please call now. This program is an important part of NCCI’s work!

Action Alert: Urge Governor Cuomo to Enact the Small Business Tax Credit!

Action Alert

The bill (A.1369/S.3688) to create a tax credit for small businesses who hire people with disabilities was delivered to the Governor on Monday. He now has 10 days to take action on the bill. Call the Governor today to urge him to enact the small business tax credit!

This type of incentive, geared to small businesses, could go a long way to helping people with disabilities find gainful employment in New York State, and addressing the devastating rates of unemployment and poverty in our community. The NYS Employment First Commission's report included a recommendation to establish a cross-disability tax credit. While other tax credits exist, this particular opportunity is needed for the following reasons: 1) The Workers with Disabilities Tax Credit (WETC) is good for two years and only if you are a consumer of the vocational rehabilitation system seeking entry into the job market, 2) other tax credits are focused on individuals with particular disabilities identifying the need for a cross-disability application, and 3) small businesses are major employers in this state.

ACTION! Call Governor Cuomo TODAY at #518-474-8390. Press 2 to speak with a person.

Say: I am calling to urge Governor Cuomo to sign the small business tax credit bill! The tax credit created by A.1369/S.3688 would create an incentive for small businesses to hire individuals with disabilities, increasing the opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities to achieve gainful employment and self-sufficiency.

Straw Ban Followup ... Action Needed

As previously discussed, the City of Plattsburgh is studying the possibility of a ban on disposable plastic straws. This is part of a growing nationwide trend ... a popular, seemingly simple way to respond the serious problem of mass plastic waste, particularly in the world's oceans.

The problem is that many people with disabilities rely on plastic straws to be able to drink, at home and in restaurants in the community. The North Country disability community needs to speak up now, and make sure that whatever ordinance is passed does not unduly burden disabled people, either by making access to straws more difficult and expensive, or by socially stigmatizing their use.

Click below to read more about what banning plastic straws means for people with disabilities:

The Problem With Banning Plastic Straws

City councilors have said they will take the needs of people with disabilities into account, and they are currently gathering feedback on the idea through an online survey. Please take a few minutes to fill out the City's survey on banning plastic straws. Click here to take the survey, it will close on September 30.

The Problem With Banning Plastic Straws

Photo of five different colored bendy plastic straws
The City of Plattsburgh has been asked to institute a ban of disposable plastic straws, and several Council members are open to discussing it in a way that could lead to some kind of official ban.

Elizabeth Izzo, Sun Community News - August 8, 2018

This is part of a growing nation-wide trend ... a popular, seemingly simple way to respond the serious problem of mass plastic waste, particularly in the world's oceans. However, one important consideration has been consistently overlooked, and when brought up, has been largely dismissed, sometimes rather harshly.

The problem with banning plastic straws is that many people with significant physical disabilities depend on them to drink liquids every day. It is a basic and indispensable accessibility tool, with no replacement currently available that is durable, safe, and affordable. The disability community has spent the last several weeks trying to inform people about this problem, and help craft good-faith solutions that address the environmental problem while meeting the needs of people with disabilities.

One solution that might work for Plattsburgh is instead of banning plastic straws completely, to ban restaurants from handing them out without being asked ... while at the same time allowing them to continue to carry plastic straws for any customer to request.

It would be important to allow this "on request" provision not just for disabled people -- because having to make a “special” request stigmatizes disabled people. Some servers might be nice about it, but others might think it’s okay to question the disabled customer, or act like it’s lazy, selfish choice, or an annoyance. Disabled people are often treated poorly when they have to ask for special assistance, or even legally required and sensible accommodations. Even using handicapped parking can subject us to glares if we don’t “look disabled enough.”

As for using alternative types of straws:


Just about all alternative currently available have problems. Paper straws break down with hot beverages. Metal and other rigid material straws can cause injury. The reason some disabled people need straws is that they have difficulty controlling their hand and head movements. If a plastic straw pokes you in the face because of twitch or tremor, it’s no big deal. If a metal straw pokes you it can hurt you. Some people also bite down on the straw to control it, and a metal straw is bad for that, while plastic straws both give and hold up. And straws that bend are often critical. In fact, plastic bendy straws were originally invented for hospitals, for patients who couldn’t drink independently from a cup.

This all sounds very nit picky and particular to people who don’t have this kind of disability, but they are real issues.

It’s not just about disabled people who may be customers already, it’s that a straw ban becomes yet another barrier, a reason why a significantly disabled person might choose to stay at home, because being “out” in the community is just that little bit more uncomfortable. It’s another way to feel unwelcome, like a “problem.”

That’s not a social condition Plattsburgh should be contributing to.

We are asking that anyone who can talk about direct experience of using plastic straws for disability-related reasons let us know if they are willing to speak out on this proposal and possible alternatives. You can contact us through our website: www.ncci-online.com, or by calling us at 518-563-9058.

For further reading on this issue:

Karin Hitselberger, Washington Post - July 12, 2018

Alice Wong, Eater - July 19, 2018

Maria Godoy, National Public Radio - July 11, 2018