Friday, June 16, 2017

The Inclusion Awards

... because we believe all people have the right to thrive in their communities

  • 7 legislators honored for their work benefiting people with developmental disabilities

It is our pleasure to announce this year’s King County honorees for their legislative work advancing the rights of people with developmental disabilities and building inclusive communities.

The 2017 Inclusion Awards:
  • For commitment to inclusion: Rep. Joan McBride, 48th
  • For bipartisan effort to ensure people with DD thrive in the community: Senator Karen Keiser, 33rd, and Senator Dino Rossi, 45th
  • For protecting the rights of people with DD: Rep. Roger Goodman, 45th
  • For promoting the rights of people with DD: Rep. Noel Frame, 36th
  • For ensuring the budget addresses needs of people with DD: Rep. Pat Sullivan, 47th, and Rep. Gerry Pollet, 46th

We are also honoring two advocates from the community for their ongoing, dogged and ultimately successful legislative work, and honoring our first Community Change Champion.
  • Audrey Adams, a member of the King County Parent and Family Coalition, for her work on HB 1322- reducing training requirements for developmental disability respite providers who work less than 300 hours in a calendar year (signed into law)
  •  Doug Nelson, government relations director for Public School Employees of Washington, for his work on paraeducator training and certification bills SB 5070 and HB 1115 (signed into law)
  • Jessica Renner, an activist, community volunteer and self-advocate who shows us how to be the change we want to see.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the ongoing work of several legislators whose bills are working through the process, and call out the work of legislators outside King County who sponsored bills that promote inclusion for all. These are noted in the detailed award categories that follow.

The Arc of King County protects and promotes the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including their right to live, learn, work and play in the community. The King County Parent and Family Coalition for Developmental Disabilities is a civic engagement and leadership program of The Arc. Volunteers write letters, meet with legislators, learn about issues, testify and otherwise engage in civics to create communities where everyone’s child can thrive.

We couldn’t advance our mission without partners in the state legislature, and without the unwavering commitment of fellow advocates. Thank you!

- Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy, The Arc of King County
& Cathy Murahashi, Family Engagement Coordinator, The King County Parent and Family Coalition 

Commitment to inclusion

Rep. McBride
Rep. Joan McBride, 48th (D, Kirkland)

Rep. McBride introduced various accessibility bills: HB 1262-accessible parking spaces (signed into law); HB 1263-powered automatic doors; and HB 1264-hearing devices for adults. She also introduced various affordable housing bills: HB 1536-local tools; HB 1616-loans; HB 1797-taxes. Inclusive communities must be accessible and affordable and we thank Rep. McBride for her commitment to inclusion.
Honorable mention: We would also like to thank Rep. Tina Orwall, 33rd (D, Des Moines) for her ongoing work on language access for special education students and families (HB 1451), and give a special call out to Senator Billig (D, Spokane) for his leadership in trying to end suspensions and expulsions our youngest K-12 students (SB 5155).

Bipartisan effort to ensure people with DD thrive in the community

Senator Keiser
Senator Rossi
Senator Karen Keiser, 33rd (D, Des Moines) and Senator Dino Rossi, 45th (R, Bellevue)

Since the 1970s, there has been a sea change from large institutional care to demand for person-centered, integrated supports in the community. There are about 115,000 people with DD statewide (34,000 in King County) and most live on their own, with supports, or with a family caregiver. Only about 700 people remain in the Residential Rehabilitation Centers. Through SB 5594 and SB 5889, Senators Keiser and Rossi worked to support individuals leaving Fircrest, one of the last Residential Habilitation Centers in the state, and proposed investing more in community healthcare and home- and community-based supports.

A special call out to … We would also like to thank Senator Ann Rivers (R, La Center) and Senator Christine Rolfes (D, Bainbridge Island) for various bills that would benefit students receiving special education services, including SB 5432, which looked at the funding allocation. Its introduction offered the only public hearing to review the $300 million under-funding in special education allocations.

Protecting the rights of people with DD

Rep. Goodman
Rep. Roger Goodman, 45th (D, Kirkland)

Rep. Goodman sponsored HB 1153 (signed into law) helping to protect vulnerable adults from theft. Among other provisions, the new law encourages counties to develop written protocols for handling criminal cases involving vulnerable adults, and outlines requirements for vulnerable adult advocacy teams.
Honorable mention: Senator David Frockt, 46th (D, Seattle) for his sponsorship of SB 5073-police use of deadly force and SB 5407-housing/source of income discrimination.

Promoting the rights of people with DD

Rep. Frame
Rep. Noel Frame, 36th (D, Seattle)

Rep. Frame sponsored HB 2037 (signed into law) to continue the work to remove obstacles to higher education for students with disabilities. The bill continues a work group and, among other provisions, requires it to focus on addressing changing methods of delivering course content, availability of course materials in an accessible manner, and the supplemental course material provided by third parties.
A special call out to Rep. Christine Kilduff (D, University Place) for her sponsorship of HB 1139-expanding Office of Public Guardianship to include supported decision making.

Ensuring the budget addresses the needs of people with DD

Rep. Sullivan
Rep. Pollet
Rep. Pat Sullivan, 47th (D, Covington) and Rep. Gerry Pollet, 46th (D, Seattle)

Representatives Sullivan and Pollet promoted a workgroup to review the funding cap on special education. It was included in HB 1843-Fulfilling the state’s paramount duty, and the House’s proposed operating budget.
Honorable mention: Jessyn Farrell, former representative from the 46th (D, Seattle) for her championship of a salary increase for Supported Living direct service providers.

Supporting families - often primary caregivers of people with DD

Audrey Adams – an advocate from the King County Parent and Family Coalition, for her ongoing, determined and ultimately successful work to make sure respite training requirements make sense for people with I/DD and their families. (HB 1322; signed into law)
A special call out to HB 1322 sponsor, Rep. Christine Kilduff (D, University Place), and the sponsor of the Senate version, SB 5360, Senator Barbara Bailey (R, Oak Harbor).

Outstanding partnership in advancing the interests of people with DD

Doug Nelson, government relations director for Public School Employees of Washington, for his determined work to make sure the paraeducator bills -- SB 5070 and HB 1115 (signed into law) -- had strong training and certification provisions and reflected the recommendations of the paraeducator work group. Currently, students with disabilities in special education can spend 60 percent of their learning time with untrained paraeducators, and we see access to qualified staff as a basic civil rights issue.(Doug is third from left in this bill signing photo.)

A Community Change Champion

Jessica Renner lives the change she wants to see. Through her legislative advocacy and community service on committees and boards, she exemplifies the leadership needed to build inclusive communities where all people thrive.

"Jessica speaks from the heart and understands things that make a difference." - As Eric Matthes,  program coordinator for Community Change Champions

Honorees will be celebrated at our annual summer potluck picnic:
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017
  • 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Renton Community Center Banquet Room
  • 1715 SE Maple Valley Highway, Renton, WA 98057
All are welcome!

Contact: Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy, The Arc of King County