[Education and Welfare] A suggested plan of action.
dhuff at moblind.org
Sun Mar 25 06:54:47 CDT 2012
OK everybody, here is an outline of the plan we have come up with. I hope
that many of you are already doing some of these, but hopefully we can
organize and really make an impact on the legislators in Missouri over the
next few weeks.
First of all let me emphasize that although we initially thought we had
tremendous support from the senate on this, it seems as though the climate
is turning and we don't have the support we thought we had. This just
happened in the past 24 hours. As to why it happened, we don't know. It
just makes our job that much more difficult. It's like pushing a boulder
uphill and we need as many people as possible putting their shoulder to that
Next I am going to give you the names, email addresses and phone numbers of
the senate appropriation committee. These are the people we need to hit
first. Their phone needs to be ringing at 9:00 on Tuesday morning with
opposition to house bill 2011.
Kurt Schaefer, District 19
Kurt.Schaefer at senate.mo.gov
Dan Brown, District 16
Dan.Brown at senate.mo.gov
Will Kraus, District 9
Will.Kraus at senate.mo.gov
Jim Lembke, District 1
JLembke at senate.mo.gov
David Pearce, District 31
David.Pearce at senate.mo.gov
Ron Richard, District 32
ronald.richard at senate.mo.gov
Rob Schaaf, District 34
rob.schaaf at senate.mo.gov
S. Kiki Curls, District 9
shalonn.curls at senate.mo.gov
Timothy P. Green, District 13
timothy_green at senate.mo.gov
Next I will give you the name of the senate appropriations committee chair.
Even if he isn't in your district he needs to hear from us loud and clearly.
201 W Capitol Ave., Rm. 420
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
FAX: (573) 751-4320
Kurt.Schaefer at senate.mo.gov
I want to also give you the name of the senate president pro tem. Robert
Mayor has previously stated that he would never support passage of this
bill. That was even referred to in a letter to one of our members from
another senator on this matter. He needs to be called and encouraged to
continue to support the blind and not turn against us.
Senator Robert Mayor
201 W Capitol Ave., Rm. 326
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
FAX: (573) 526-1384
Rob.Mayer at senate.mo.gov
Next, through the efforts of several leaders of the blind community a list
of arguments has been put together to refer to when talking to our senators.
This information needs to be spread far and wide but mainly to the
Concerns Regarding Points Made During House Debate
Argument: If the program didn't exist today, who in this chamber would rise
to create it?
Response: The issue is not what we would create today but what has existed
for nearly 50 years. Blind Missourians who qualify for the blind pension
have weighed their options for medical care and have chosen the ones that
have made the most economic sense. Many have incomes that are low enough to
exclude them from purchasing insurance on the regular market, and still
others have been on this medical care long enough that they have
pre-existing conditions which will keep them from getting affordable rates
if they can find insurance at all. The argument that, under the Affordable
Care Act, insurance companies will have to accept all applicants, regardless
their pre-existing conditions, makes no difference today. The relevant
portion of the law does not take effect until 2014, and there is no
certainty at this point it will be found constitutional or that the congress
will not nullify it.
Argument: Since the blind pension is conditioned on assets rather than
income, Stevie Wonder could receive benefits if he lived in this state.
Response: Given that only ones home and personal jewelry are excluded from
asset calculation, this argument is foolish on its face. Just one of Stevie
Wonder's limousines is likely to disqualify him from the pension, as would
other houses, high-tech recording equipment, and all of the possessions that
one who has sold the number of records he has will likely have accumulated.
Argument: Many people who receive the medical care that goes along with
blind pension are employed and have no real need for it.
Response: More than 70% of the blind population is unemployed. A goodly
number of those who are employed work in sheltered workshops which qualify
for certificates that will allow them to pay their blind employees less than
the federal minimum wage. Recipients of blind pension who are gainfully
employed and have medical insurance as a result of their work would only use
the benefit after their primary and secondary insurance has paid. Before
making a drastic change to this program based on the supposition that there
is a number of undeserving people, who are recipients, compile the data and
understand the effect this change will have on living breathing people.
Don't let the data come from what we come to see in emergency rooms and
nursing homes as blind people fall through the safety net.
Argument: Blind people get more than others who are disabled.
Response: The word disability is a term that hints at some kind of physical
or mental problem, but is so generic that, in terms of devising concrete
programs, it is quite ineffective. Think how diverse the needs of people who
are classified as disabled are. A young woman is considered disabled if she
is severely profoundly retarded and requires the most basic care--feeding,
diapering, and 24 hour supervision. The construction worker who hurts his
back is disabled if he can no longer work in his profession, but he will
still be able to drive, read, make out his checks, and go to the grocery
store independently. Certainly it is clear that people who are blind fall
somewhere between these extremes. To suggest that the blind person needs as
much assistance from the state as one of her severely profoundly retarded
citizens is as absurd as to suggest that the person with a back injury
requires the same kind of assistance as the blind.
We are in the process of putting together a petition to reach to all
Missourians. As soon as we have the petition ready we will send you the
address and hopefully you will distribute it to all of your family friends
and encourage them to sign it and send it on to their contacts.
On April 4th there will be a Disability Days Rally at the capital in
Jefferson City. I encourage as many of you as possible to attend this and
join other disability groups to let our unified voice be heard. We need to
show the legislators that we are all in this together and no one disability
group stands alone.
Legislators - Take Note - We Vote!
. Disability rights are civil rights. These are rights that affect
us all; any of us may need these rights one day.
. The disability community makes up approximately 20% of the U.S.
. The disability population in Missouri is nearly 1 million people1.
We also have friends and families that vote with disability rights in mind.
. Persons with disabilities are active voters and pay attention to
how their legislators act on disability issues. We vote!
We Want Legislators to...
. support budget items that help us live in our communities - like
money in HB2010 for the Developmental Disabilities Wait List (a.k.a.
. support access to Medicaid for the blind!
. move the state from institutionalizing us to making sure we can all
live real lives in the community, not nursing homes or habilitation centers!
. support policy that results in people with disabilities getting real
jobs for real wages!
. support policies that result in more inclusive schools and
transition programs that result in people getting real lives after high
. protect all students from bullying!
We want legislators to share these priorities!
Go online to:
<http://www.mo.gov/disability/gcd/> www.mo.gov/disability/gcd/ Learn
more about the Governor's Council on Disability
<http://www.at.mo.gov/listserv.html> www.at.mo.gov/listserv.html To get
updates through MO Disability Legislative Listserv
<http://www.MOSILC.org> www.MOSILC.org Find your Center
for Independent Living
<http://www.PeopleFirst.org> www.PeopleFirst.org Find your
local People First Chapter
<http://www.arcofmissouri.org> www.arcofmissouri.org Missouri
Can't Wait! Let's end the waiting list
<http://www.mpcdd.org> www.mpcdd.org Missouri
Developmental Disabilities Council
<http://www.tinyurl.com/7c5f2zn> www.tinyurl.com/7c5f2zn Community Action
Network Legislative Updates
1U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Data & Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 2010 Disability and Health Data System (DHDS)
Denny Huff- President
Missouri Council of the Blind
P: (636) 262-1383
TF: (888) 362-1383
F: (314) 558-0298
Phone Cast: (816) 298-8969
DHuff at MoBlind.Org
The purpose of Missouri Council of the Blind shall be to promote the general
well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to
or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally
blind people everywhere.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE JOURNEY
Your host: Denny Huff
SUNDAY MORNINGS AT 8:00 AM CST
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