Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update – March 20 Hearing on State Budget in Milwaukee

Good morning! This is a reminder that State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will hold a public hearing on the budget in Milwaukee next Friday March 20th from 10 AM – 5 PM at Alverno College, Pittman Theater, 3400 S. 43rd street.

This is an opportunity for community members to attend and be part of the democratic budget process. You may decide to register to speak to the committee and share your priorities on the budget or you may come to show solidarity with others who are speaking. Here are a few tips for the hearings.

Preparing for the State Budget Hearing
If you want to testify to the committee, you must fill out a registration form. It is important to arrive early to get in line to register - you should plan to arrive no later than 9 AM as there is usually a long line of people who want to testify.

  • Testimony is timed. You should plan on no more than two minutes. It is a good idea to practice your testimony and time it.

  • Although it is not necessary to provide your testimony in writing, it can be helpful to do so. Plan to bring 17 copies for the 16 Finance members and the clerk, plus extra copies for staff, other legislators in attendance, media, etc.

  • If you cannot attend or do not wish to speak, you can submit written testimony – see the attached hearing notice for specifics.

  • Individuals needing assistance, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, should contact Vicki Holten, Legislative Fiscal Bureau, One East Main Street, Suite 301, Madison, WI 53703 (608) 266–3847 • Fax (608) 267–6873 • Email: Fiscal.Bureau@legis.wisconsin.gov

Budget Priorities to Discuss

The budget includes many changes to services for people with disabilities and older adults that you may want to consider addressing in your testimony. It can be especially helpful if you can share a story about how the budget changes will impact you, your family members, or clients. This is your opportunity to educate legislators about the impact of the proposed changes.

  • The budget eliminates IRIS, and makes significant changes to Family Care, BadgerCare, SeniorCare, and Personal Care. The changes to BadgerCare may have a significant impact on members who have a mental illness or other disability; if they lose eligibility for BadgerCare, they will not be eligible for other Medicaid programs such as Comprehensive Community Services (CCS).

  • Transportation is also an important service and key to the ability of people with disabilities and older adults to live independently in the community. Funding for transit and specialized transportation is an important topic to educate legislators about.

We are trying to pull together our Make It Work Milwaukee budget overview and have that to you next week.

Letters to the Editor
Writing letters to the editors about budget priorities is another way to share your concerns. Here is the contact information for the Journal Sentinel:

  • Generally, we limit letters to 200 words.
  • Name, street address and daytime phone are required.
  • We cannot acknowledge receipt of submissions.
  • We don’t publish poetry, anonymous or open letters.
  • Each writer is limited to one published letter every two months.

Write: Letters to the editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, P.O. Box 371, Milwaukee, WI 53201–0371
Fax: (414)−223–5444
E-mail: jsedit@journalsentinel.com

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director: DISABILITY RIGHTS WISCONSIN
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 3230 Milwaukee, WI 53214
414–773–4646 Ext 15 Voice
414–773–4647 Fax
barbara.beckert@drwi.org

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on March 14, 2015

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