Help Support Centers for Independent Living
SNAPS (SMILES News About Programs and Services) brings you this Advocacy Network Update on Legislative News and Advocacy Activities at SMILES Center for Independent Living.
The Centers for Independent Living have experienced budget cuts over the past 5 years. Legislators are proposing bills HF 534 and SF 440 to restore those cuts and increase funding to Minnesota Centers for Independent Living. This will help the centers with the increasing demand to help support persons with disabilities.
SMILES is asking for your help. How has your local Center for Independent Living helped in your work with persons with disabilities? Show your support for centers by contacting your Minnesota state representatives and ask them to support the bills to restore and increase funding for the centers to continue providing programs and services that help local communities work with individuals who have disabilities. Find your legislative district and representatives here: Legislative District Map.
A Bill to increase funding for Centers for Independent Living by $60,000 was introduced on February 13. The bill to appropriate $2.5 M in fiscal year 2014 and 2015 asks for $230,000 above the base funding, replacing $179,000 in cuts, allocating the net increase between the eight centers.
House File 534, authored by Representatives Tim Mahoney (DFL) District 67A; Bob Gunther (R) District 23A; Jason Isaacson (DFL) District: 42B; Jason Metsa (DFL) District 06B; and Kathy Brynaert (DFL) District 19B (signed on as co-author March 3, 2013) was referred to the Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy committee, chaired by Representative Mahoney. The bill was heard Tuesday, March 12; and was held over for inclusion in the committee’s omnibus funding bill.
Senate File 440 was authored by Senators D. Scott Dibble (DFL) District 61; David J. Tomassoni (DFL) District 06; Tom Saxhaug (DFL) District 05; Foung Hawj (DFL) District 67; and Carrie Ruud (DFL) District 10. After introduction, it was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Representative Richard Cohen (DFL) District 64 chairs the Senate Finance Committee.
- Do you want to learn new advocacy skills?
- Do you know how a government bill is formed and passed?
- Do you know who your State representative is and how to contact them?
SMILES CIL and The Arc SW are sponsoring BE A Voice! a Legislative and Advocacy workshop on Thursday, April 4th for people who want to know more about advocacy, the legislative process and how to tell their independent living story to legislators and other interested people.
The workshop will be held in the SMILES Mankato office at 709 South Front Street, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. Download the “BE A Voice” flyer.
Citizens for Accessibility (CFA) are concerned citizens who want to make a difference in their community by addressing barriers to access for persons with disabilities. SMILES sponsors Citizens for Accessibility throughout south central Minnesota. CFA meets in Mankato from 12:00 noon – 1:30 pm on the 3rd Thursday each month. They meet over a light lunch, discussing issues, and learning about advocating for themselves and others.
CFA meetings are a great way to meet people who are interested in disability related issues, gain or improve advocacy skills and get involved in your community. To attend a CFA meeting, call Michelle at 507-345-7139. For more information about CFA meetings in the Fairmont, Springfield or other areas, call SMILES toll free at 888-676-6498. Download the Mankato CFA 2013 meeting schedule.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Anne Murray
SMILES Center for Independent Living
SMILES CIL Elects 2013 Board Officers
Mankato MN – Brian Koch, Nate Clark, Dan Robinson, and Mike Matzke elected Board Officers of SMILES Center for Independent Living.
SMILES Board of Directors has a new slate of officers, led by President Brian Koch, who was elected at Tuesday’s board meeting. Koch noted the board’s leadership in disability related issues, stating, “I am looking forward to working with the other board members, volunteers, community members and sponsors who all support SMILES and our mission.”
Other newly elected officers include Vice President Nate Clark, Treasurer Dan Robinson, and Secretary Mike Matzke. “Election of board officers ensures the Center for Independent Living will continue to benefit from a diversity of experience and opinions,” said Koch, adding, “We were able to select the best candidates because of their proven leadership skills, broad experience in regional organizations, and their support of independent living for individuals with disabilities.”
SMILES Center for Independent Living’s nine county service delivery area in south central Minnesota includes Le Sueur, Nicollet, Sibley, Brown, Watonwan, Martin, Faribault, Waseca and Blue Earth counties, with offices in New Ulm, Fairmont, Waseca and Fairmont.
The Board of Directors governs the finances, programs, and services of SMILES Center for Independent Living and ensures consumer control by requiring a majority membership of persons with disability, including significant disabilities.
“One of the benefits of consumer governance is the control individuals have over services and programs needed by individuals with disabilities,” Koch concludes, “When people with disabilities use their skills and abilities to act in their own best interest, that truly is independent living.”
For more information, call Anne Murray at 507-345-7139 or 888-676-6498.
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SMILES Center for Independent Living is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to providing a wide array of services that assist individuals with disabilities to live independently, pursue meaningful goals, and enjoy the same opportunities and choices as all persons. www.smilescil.org
The following article is forwarded to you by the Great Lakes ADA Center (www.adagreatlakes.org) for your information:
Disability Scoop (www.disabilityscoop.com)
December 4, 2012
Senate Rejects UN Disability Treaty
By Michelle Diament
Despite strong support from disability advocacy groups, Republican opposition led the U.S. Senate to reject an international disability rights treaty on Tuesday.
In a vote that fell almost entirely along party lines, supporters were unable to secure the two-thirds majority of senators needed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The treaty calls for greater community access and a better standard of living for people with disabilities worldwide. The measure’s chief supporter, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said that ratifying the treaty would not require any change to U.S. law, but would afford the nation a leadership role in the international community on disability rights issues. What’s more, Kerry said participation would help ensure that Americans with disabilities would have the same protections abroad as they do domestically.
“This treaty is not about changing America, but about America changing the world,” Kerry said just before the vote, adding that the issue had become unnecessarily controversial in the deeply-partisan body. “This treaty is a test of the Senate. It’s a test of whether this body is still capable of voting for change.”
Eight Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in voting for ratification in the 61 to 38 vote. Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, who was injured in World War II, also came to the Senate floor to support the treaty.
However, a majority of Republicans, led by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, fought hard against ratification arguing that the treaty would compromise U.S. sovereignty and threaten the ability of parents to determine what’s best for their kids, statements that supporters insisted were not based in fact.
Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the Heritage Foundation and the Home School Legal Defense Association rallied their supporters from across the nation to lobby against the treaty. Ultimately, their efforts bested those of more than 300 disability organizations which had united to support ratification.
The U.S. signed the disability rights convention in 2009, but Senate approval was needed in order to make participation official. The Obama administration sent the treaty to the Senate earlier this year asking that it be ratified.
Currently, 126 countries around the word have ratified the disability treaty, according to the U.N.
At noon, (Eastern Time) the Senate will vote on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Minnesota’s Senators Franken and Klubuchar support the ratification. We will bring you final results as soon as they are published:
to see results click here: Senate Roll Call Vote
An email earlier today from the National Center for Independent Living:
CRPD Vote: Only the Disability Community Can Make it Happen!
This is it. The Senate is voting today on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at 12:00 noon Eastern.
Thank you everyone for your amazing work over the past many years to get to this point. We, 56.7 million people with disabilities strong, family, friends, and advocates have all come together to make the U.S. ratification of the CRPD a success. This is the final push!
Tuesday Call Blitz
Everyone, please contact each of these 11 Senators and ask them to vote yes! They are waiting to hear from you!
You have done a lot with your calls, demonstrations, and visits. We made clear movement on Monday. But we are still not there, so please continue to take action! The Senate offices listed below are counting calls, so keep them coming!
Message: “Senator, I am calling to urge you vote YES for the CRPD. This is a disability issue and the disability community says VOTE YES!”
- Isakson (GA): 202.224.3643
- Chambliss (GA): 202. 224.3521
- Grassley (IA): 202.224.3744
- Coats (IN): 202. 224.5623
- Moran (KS): 202.224.6521
- Roberts (KS): 202.224.4774
- Blunt (MO): 202.224.5721
- Heller (NV): 202.224.6244
- Hutchison (TX): 202.224.5922
- Hatch (UT): 202.224.5251
- Portman (OH): 202.224.3353
- We believe that the vote and debate on the CRPD will occur live on C-SPAN2
- Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
- Find your Senator’s contact information online
SMILES locations in Fairmont, Mankato, New Ulm and Waseca will close Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd so that our consumers and employees may observe Thanksgiving and have Friday off. We will open again on Monday, November 26th at 8:00 a.m.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at SMILES, to you.
Thanksgiving Closings: All SMILES locations in Fairmont, Mankato, New Ulm and Waseca will close Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd, in observance of Thanksgiving.
Faribault/Martin County CTIC: Howard Rosten will present “What is Assistive Technology and who uses it?” sponsored by the Community Transition Interagency Committee (CTIC) at the Martin County Library on Monday, November 26th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Parents and professionals planning for student transition from secondary school to adult life are encouraged to attend.
November 28, 2012 Election of Board Officers: Board Officers will be elected at the November 28 Board Meeting from a group of candidates selected by the Nominating Committee. Contact ALAN AUGUSTIN at 507-345-7139 to get a ballot. You must be a member of SMILES to vote for officers. For more information about joining SMILES or renewing your membership, click here: Membership. The Board meets from 4:30 – 6:30 in the Board Room at SMILES Mankato location 709 South Front Street, Suite #7, Mankato MN. The meeting is open to the public and individuals with disabilities are invited to bring their ideas, comments and suggestions to Alan Augustin 507-345-7139 (toll free at 888-676-6498) prior to the meeting to be included in the agenda.
Join or renew your SMILES membership on Give to the Max Day and get a special thank you gift! Click Give to the Max and select the $20 membership level or higher to get your membership gift. Membership in SMILES entitles you to vote in the November 27 election for Board Officers, provides you with opportunities to show your support for individual with disabilities, volunteer with SMILES and so much more!
SMILES participates in “Give to the Max Day” as part of our overall fundraising and donations program. Our donations page is at GiveMN.org/SMILES and is available online throughout the year for your convenience. This one-day, 24hour, online giving event is a big day for charitable giving. To boost membership giving today, we have selected Block Party arts activity gift boxes and greeting cards as thank you gifts to donors who join or renew membership during this event. (View pictures here)
With just under 10 hours to go, you still have time to check out our page, renew your membership, and make a donation if you choose. Be sure to view the video made by Scott Smith, who used his chair-cam to video record painting a floor mural at the Block Party. The mural was made by people using adaptive painting equipment for wheelchairs, and the finished work was processed into greeting cards, decorative gift boxes, panels suitable for framing as wall art and one large stretched canvas, ready to hang. These original works of art are available for purchase, and can be viewed at: Original Art by SMILES Membership.
SMILES members are people who are empowered to make a difference in their communities. You can be a part of SMILES and make a difference, too, by joining SMILES today and giving a person with disabilities the opportunity to accomplish their goals and succeed like anybody else. Choose to make the difference that means something to you. It’s easy, just “click, contribute, change your world.”