Effecting policy change through targeted advocacy is a complex process. From launching and implementing a policy initiative to sustaining its success, there are distinct challenges and opportunities at each stage of an effective advocacy campaign.
LSA Disability Network
News surrounding the LSA Disability Network
The Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) held its 2014 Summer Meeting in Columbus, OH from August 5-8. They gathered the LSA-DN Policy Advisory Team (PAT) and Housing Forum.
Coming from a long career with Lutheran social ministry organizations, Julie Swanson, President and CEO of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia (LFSVA), has been involved in the Lutheran system since before the founding of LSA. For Julie, getting involved in the LSA network was an easy decision. "It's the other LSA member agencies, and the staff that work for them, that are your best allies and sources of information," she said in an interview with LSA this fall.
Congratulations to our LSA-DN's Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Sarah Meek, for her election as co-chair of the Long-Term Services and Supports Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. Sarah has been at LSA since December 2012, directing the Disability Network's federal advocacy activities on issues affecting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including long-term services and supports, housing, employment and transportation.
The Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) has reached out to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) to personally thank him for his tireless advocacy on and support for the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. After more than 25 years in the Senate, Senator Harkin is now retiring. Senator Harkin is the Chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the Senate and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Lutheran Services in America (LSA-DN) and its member organizations are actively reaching out to both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate urging passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (H.R. 647/S. 313) during the current Lame Duck session of Congress. LSA-DN strongly support the ABLE Act because it will enable individuals with disabilities and their families to save for their future just like every other American. The ABLE Act facilitates self-direction for people with disabilities, supports individuals living in the community and shifts some long-term services and supports costs from Medicaid. The House is due to vote on the Act during the first week of December.
On Wednesday, December 3rd, the U.S House of Representatives passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S. 313) with a vote of 404-17. Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) applauds the overwhelming support for this legislation that will allow individuals with disabilities to save for the future without fear of jeopardizing essential long-term services and supports provided through Medicaid and other programs. The Senate is expected to take up the ABLE Act sometime next week.
Lutheran Services in America (LSA) and the Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN) applaud the Senate passage of The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The overwhelming passage of the ABLE Act through both the House of Representatives and the Senate clears the way for the ABLE Act to become law with President Obama's signature.
ABLE accounts will enable individuals with disabilities to live more fully integrated lives in the community and empower them to take charge of their futures without fear of jeopardizing essential long-term services and supports provided through Medicaid and other programs.
The week of February 2, representatives from 18 DN member organizations and the ELCA met for the 2015 Winter LSA-DN meeting in Safety Harbor, FL. Topics of discussion included state implementation of the HCBS settings regulation, DN's administrative cost survey, direct support workforce issues, member sharing, and much more!
The recently released 2016 presidential budget has initiatives built into it that are designed to help older adults. The budget proposed commitments in four key areas identified by the 2015 White House Conference on Aging: elder justice, long-term care supports and services, health aging and retirement security.